What burns in #Mauritania? A partial list

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26 Apr 2012: Biram Ould Abeid, president of the IRA anti-slavery organisation, set fire to several Islamic textbooks in a protest against their references to slavery. Below is the video of Aziz’ scripted little self-beatification and Biram’s book burning. If you look closely you can almost pin-point the moment when Biram commits political suicide. But how is it that the TV cameras were able to film the entire sequence, did nothing to stop it (more likely encouraged it), and yet their constant companions at every other form of protest – the police – were not also present? More than this, how were they not also arrested as accessories? Ah, yes, “freedom of the press”.

19 April 2012: Two fires, one in a house in Magta Lahjar, one in Alioun when shrubs and grasses caught fire near a sports complex.

18 Apr 2012: Massive fire in a motorcycle store in Bassiknou causing huge financial losses

20 Mar 2012: A fire in the basement of a bank branch in Nouakchott caused by electrical wiring problems burned for three hours before fire-fighters arrived. They then punched two holes in the wall to gain access and control the blaze.

15 Mar 2012: Restaurant destroyed by fire in Nouakchott. Firemen were very late arriving on the scene.

13 Mar 2012: Authorities destroyed a large quantity of expired medicines by fire in Fderik

06 Mar 2012: Fire in Tembeissoukat pasture land, the second within a 5km radius in less than a week and the fourth in recent months, raising suspicions of deliberate sabotage of animal grazing among locals. These episodes coincided with the “Hope 2012″ program to alleviate food and animal feed shortages.

03 Mar 2012: Fire in tiny 5-roomed Zouerate prison, which houses 70 people, started by three prisoners as a form of protest. 10 inmates received 1st- and 2nd-degree burns. One prisoner managed to escape but was later apprehended.

02 Mar 2012: 4 Saharawi men perished while they slept in a campfire blaze that destroyed the hut they sheltered in overnight at Zouerate, Mauritania

02 Mar 2012: Fire in the critical pastures of the eastern basin devastated what was left of the grazing for thousands of cattle already struggling to survive Mauritania’s portion of the “Sahel crisis” and restricted from crossing into neighbouring Mali by Tuareg-MNLA-MUJWA-AQIM-Armed nobodies who are in the throes of a very messy rebellion-insurgency-liberation-civil war type thing.

28 Feb 2012: Shops and buildings in Boutilimit destroyed by a gas canister explosion and fire, and continued to burn for several hours, while waiting for a fire truck from Nouakchott, which broke down en route.

23 Feb 2012: ISERI students set fire to tyres during clashes with police, in the first exhibition of what has become their signature at subsequent protests

22 Feb 2012: Fire in huge pile of waste at Nouakchott National Hospital. Yes, the prestigious hospital that is good enough for al-Senoussi but not for any members of the political elite or their victims (see 24 Jan 2012)

11 Feb 2012: 3 “Aziz” public transport buses, so named because they were a gift to the president from Iran, were burned in a deliberate act of arson in Nouakchott, about an hour before a protest march was scheduled to begin, and just a couple of hundred metres from the departure point. Attempts by authorities to link the protesters to the fire failed, and the actual culprits were never identified. The popular theory is that regime thugs were responsible.

11 Feb 2012: University graduate Mohamed Abderrahmane Ould Bezeid allegedly set fire to himself outside the presidential palace in Nouakchott, but friends and family have cast doubts on the actual cause of the injuries which led to his death. Despite this, an inquiry was refused.

16 Feb 2012: Inmates started a fire in Nema prison as a protest.

27 Jan 2012: Fire in Dar Naim, the biggest prison in Mauritania

24 Jan 2012: President Aziz’ son Badr fired his illegal handgun directly into a girl’s chest, critically injuring her, while out joyriding with a group of friends.

24 Jan 2012: Fire caused by cooking gas bottle leak destroyed a large residential property in Kiffa

07 Jan 2012: Fire in a furniture warehouse in Zeina district of Nouakchott causing considerable losses. the fire service was slow to respond and took time to arrive, despite being located only a short distance from the scene

26 Dec 2011: Fire in another hospital, Sheikh Zayed in Nouakchott, again due to accumulated waste

01 Dec 2011: Fire in grazing pasture near Nema

28 Nov 2011: Police fired a grenade, hitting young rapper Abou Fall’s hand, almost destroying it. Eventually, he was evacuated to Germany by a fellow musician who heard of his plight, but only after his thumb and forefinger became diseased due to lack of proper medical treatment and had to be amputated.

02 Oct 2011: Massive fire of a private home near the central market in Nema, due to faulty electrics.

29 Sep 2011: Touche Pas anti-rascism movement protest resulted in a car being torched. In other TP protests a police van and the governor’s office were also set alight and destroyed.

24 Sep 2011: Fire at the prison in Kaédi affected 20 inmates

31 Aug 2011: Fire in Nouadhibou slums

14 May 2011: Fire broke out on board the privately-owned vessel “Atlantic” 6km off the coast of Mauritania, raising concerns about damage to the marine environment if it sank

03 May 2011:A student burned his diploma outside the college in protest at lack of support and work opportunities

17 Jan 2011: Yacoub Ould Dahoud set fire to himself inside his car outside the presidential palace in Nouakchott in protest of the ruling regime. His dying wish was to provide the spark to shock his fellow citizens into taking action against the injustices and break the yoke of corruption and repression.