Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Mauritania
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||18 August 2011|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2010 - Mauritania, 18 August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e52481f37.html [accessed 30 January 2015]|
Overview: The Government of Mauritania launched military operations against al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) camps in northern Mali in July and September and continued to strengthen its security forces' capacity and improve border security. It also continued arresting terrorism suspects, including those involved in targeting Westerners.
2010 Terrorist Incidents: After suffering from an unprecedented wave of kidnappings and terrorist attacks in 2009, Mauritania registered one suicide car bombing in 2010. On August 25, a car bomb drove through a checkpoint and exploded at the entrance of military barracks in Nema, 1200 kilometers east of Nouakchott. The driver died instantly and three soldiers were wounded. AQIM claimed responsibility for the attack in an August 31 Internet press release. This was the second suicide attack in Mauritania; the first attempt took place in August 2009 outside the French Embassy.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: In May, the largest terrorism trials in Mauritania's history took place. Fifty-six terrorist suspects received sentences ranging from fines and imprisonment to the death penalty in the case of the 2007 murders of four French nationals who were shot in the southern city of Aleg.
The Mauritanian government took steps to improve border security through plans to build 10 new border posts. The Ministry of the Interior was also establishing a program to produce secure national identity documents.
Countering Terrorist Finance: A new counterterrorism law enacted in July replaced the existing legislation and outlawed terrorist financing in all its forms. Mauritania has a Financial Intelligence Unit called "CANIF," under the Mauritanian Central Bank, which is in charge of investigating financial crimes, including terrorist financing. Mauritania is a member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force.
Regional and International Cooperation: Mauritania cooperated with U.S. counterterrorism efforts and is a Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership country. In March, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mali, Niger, and Mauritania gathered in Algeria and issued a joint statement rejecting ransom payments. In September, Mauritania participated in a meeting gathering sub-regional chiefs of staff in Algeria to coordinate efforts to counter terrorism in the Sahel. On September 30, along with Mali, Niger, and Algeria, Mauritania participated in the establishment of a Joint Command Center in Tamanrasset, Algeria, that once fully operational will allow the four countries to coordinate regional responses to AQIM activities. On October 10, Mauritania participated in the Syrta meeting to coordinate counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel. Mauritania, which recalled its Ambassador to Bamako in February following Mali's release of four terrorist suspects, restarted cooperation with Mali in September, and had joint patrols in northern Mali in December.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: The Government of Mauritania adopted a series of measures to counter radicalization and violent extremism. The government conducted a census of mosques, opened a Quranic radio station, and featured television and radio programs emphasizing moderation in Islam. The government favored a conciliatory approach towards extremists willing to renounce violence. It sponsored a dialogue between moderate imams and imprisoned extremists in January leading to the repentance of 57 individuals, 52 of whom received Presidential pardons during the Muslim holidays of Eid-el Fitr and Eid-el Adha. A national dialogue on terrorism and extremism was held in October, and the Government of Mauritania organized conferences and roundtables regarding moderation in Islam and gathered key decision makers in the government, civil society, and among religious authorities to decide on a common strategy. At year's end, the Mauritanian government was planning reinsertion programs for repentant extremists.