24 Jan 2012: The shooting scandal is getting more bizarre, with the victim having been flown to Morocco for treatment, reports now say that doctors there have not found any bullet, but that she is paralysed from the waist down. I still do not find this story credible because it seems to be entirely based on hearsay and gossip. What I do see happening that makes me concerned is that the activists we might expect to see promoting tomorrow’s human chain protest are instead caught in this web of intrigue, by allowing it to distract them.
23 Jan 2012: The son of Mauritania’s president Mohammed al Aziz, Badr al Aziz, has been accused of shooting a young woman on Sunday, 22 January 2012 during an argument over her affections. A wave of outrage follows revelations that he was eventually arrested after taking a leisurely late breakfast at a popular Nouakchott café, but almost immediately released . Without wishing ill towards the victim, there are complaints of the injustice of her being given preferential treatment from the presidential administration. While other patients struggle to pay for costly treatment, she is apparently being airlifted out of the country.
This news broke at the same time as the co-ordinated opposition group COD, currently on a country-wide tour, announced their intention to release evidence exposing the level of corruption in Mauritania attributable to Aziz and his administration.
21 Jan 2012: The jailed ISERI students have been released. The fate of the college remains at stake. The anti-slavery activists are still in jail.
16 Jan 2012: The four students arrested last week after police stormed the ISERI Islamic College remain in jail in Nouakchott.
These unarmed, peaceful students were locked up while General Aziz was rubbing shoulders with Moncef Marzouki and Sheikh Khalifa in Tunisia trying to pass himself off as a supporter of the Arab Spring. This despite the fact that he still supports Bashar al-Assad in Syria, enjoys close ties to the regime in Iran, was one of the last Arab leaders to visit Ben Ali before his departure (if not the last), and would probably still be supporting Gaddafi in Libya if he was alive. Despite Aziz being the chairman of the African Union special committee on Libya, Mauritania was the last member to recognize the National Transitional Council, and received delegations from both the NTC and Gadaffi’s regime during the uprising.
Elsewhere in the country,
two four anti-slavery human rights activists were arrested. Two of them are pictured here: stripped and shackled and thrown in jail. These are the four detainees, a university professor, a lawyer, a journalist and a photographer: