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Mauritanians march over Koran desecration

By Laurent Prieur NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters threw stones and chanted anti-government slogans in Mauritania's capital on Monday after local media reported Korans were desecrated in a mosque. A young man was killed during the protests after apparently being hit by an exploding teargas canister, a hospital source told Reuters.

Mauritanian student killed in protests: hospital source

A student was killed in protests in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott in the early hours of Monday, a hospital source said, as hundreds took to the streets to protest against an alleged desecration of the Koran. The man, a literature student at the University of Nouakchott, according to the source, died as police struggled to contain demonstrators demanding the arrest of a group they accused of seizing copies of the text from a mosque. A local government source confirmed the death but said the circumstances and cause were yet to be clarified.

Mauritanian student killed in protests: hospital source

A student was killed in protests in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott in the early hours of Monday, a hospital source said, as hundreds took to the streets to protest against an alleged desecration of the Koran. The man, a literature student at the University of Nouakchott, according to the source, died as police struggled to contain demonstrators demanding the arrest of a group they accused of seizing copies of the text from a mosque. A local government source confirmed the death but said the circumstances and cause were yet to be clarified.

Young Muslim in Mauritania convicted for criticising prophet Mohammed

A young Muslim man in Mauritania is facing a possible death sentence after being convicted of apostasy and jailed for having written an article criticising the prophet Mohammed, a judicial source said Monday. He was arrested on Thursday in Nouadhibou in the northwest of the country, an Islamic republic, and "was convicted of lack of respect for the prophet," and jailed, the source told AFP. The author of the article will be brought before a judge and given the chance to repent but if he refuses, "he risks the death penalty," the source added.

Mauritania to set up slavery tribunal: state media

Mauritania is to set up a special tribunal to prosecute suspects accused of involvement in slavery, state media said on Tuesday, in a bid to eradicate the trade in the west African state. A judicial committee chaired by President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz met on Monday and "decided to create a court to try crimes of slavery", the Mauritanian Information Agency reported. Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery, in 1981, and since 2012 its practice has been officially designated a crime, with those convicted liable to 10 years in prison.

Mauritania holds elections despite opposition boycott

Mauritanians voted Saturday in nationwide elections overshadowed by a widespread boycott of opposition parties, with all eyes on the performance of an Islamist party allowed to take part for the first time. The mainly-Muslim republic, a former French colony on the west coast of the Sahara desert, is seen by the West as strategically important in the fight against Al-Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, as well in neighbouring Mali and across Africa's Sahel region.

Mauritania holds elections despite wide boycott

Mauritania holds nationwide elections Saturday overshadowed by a boycott of the "radical" opposition -- apart from an Islamist party that calls its participation a struggle against "dictatorship". The mainly-Muslim republic, a former French colony on the west coast of the Sahara desert, is seen by the West as strategically important in the fight against Al-Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, as well in neighbouring Mali and across Africa's Sahel region.

Mauritanian parties accuse rivals of foul play

Mauritania's ruling party and Islamist opposition group traded accusations of foul play on Tuesday as the campaign for the west African nation's legislative and local polls drew towards its conclusion. The governing Union for the Republic (UPR) -- overwhelming favourites to win Saturday's elections -- cast doubts over the funding of Tewassoul, a relatively new party fighting its first election.

Mauritania's khaima tents make an unlikely comeback

Twinkling like a thousand stars in the silent repose of a black Saharan night, Mauritania's traditional "khaima" tents were once a pervasive emblem of the exotic culture of Africa's nomadic Moors. Replaced gradually by urban sprawl, they had all but disappeared in the capital Nouakchott, but are enjoying an unlikely revival thanks to the country's upcoming elections.

Thousands rally against upcoming elections in Mauritania

Thousands of Mauritanians rallied in the capital Nouakchott on Wednesday to protest against nationwide elections later this month that have been dismissed by the opposition as a sham. "Unilateral elections kill democracy," the demonstrators chanted, as they marched through the city centre, an AFP reporter saw. No incidents were reported during the protest, which was closely watched by security forces.
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