Nouakchott: Mauritanian troops early
on Wednesday killed a suicide bomber trying to ram a vehicle crammed
with explosives into a military barrack at Nema in the
country`s east, a senior military official said.
The bomber refused to heed warnings and tried to drive
his 4X4 vehicle into the main military barracks in Nema, about
1,200 kilometres east of Nouakchott, shortly after midnight,
the official told a news agency.
Nema is near the frontier with Mali.
Soldiers fired on the vehicle, sparking a "big
explosion", he said, attributing the foiled attack to an
al Qaeda offshoot in North Africa, the al Qaeda in the Islamic
The explosion caused heavy damage but no other deaths,
However, witnesses said three people suffered light
The failed attack comes a month after the Mauritanian
army launched an offensive on AQIM bases in Mali to pre-empt a
strike on military bases at home.
One of them was staged with French military backing on
July 22 in a bid to free 78-year-old French hostage Michel
Germaneau, who was later executed by AQIM.
The latest AQIM strike comes barely two days after the
group released two Spanish hostages held captive in the Sahara
for nine months after securing the release of the kidnap
mastermind and a reported ransom.
AQIM gave no details, but Malian mediators said that a ransom of around USD 10 million was paid for the
release of Albert Vilalta, 35, and Roque Pascual, 50, both aid
In a statement AQIM said the release of the Spaniards
should serve as "a lesson" for the French secret service,
referring to the failed raid to rescue the French hostage.
"They could have dealt with reason and
responsibility... they could have avoided indiscretion,
foolishness and deceit, which caused the death of their
citizen," its said in a statement.
A French foreign ministry spokesman Tuesday said in
reaction to the statement that Paris does "not comment on
declarations made by terrorists".
A French presidential spokesman also insisted that
France "never got the chance to make contact" with AQIM to
negotiate Germaneau`s release.