Mauritania authorities have charged five men with plotting to overthrow this desert nation's military junta, which has pledged to restore civilian rule by next year. Prosecutor Ben Amar Ould Veta said the five, arrested June 19 for allegedly conspiring to sabotage a referendum that put term limits on future presidents, were charged with "plotting to reverse the constitutional order."

Voters in the poverty stricken West African nation of Mauritania overwhelmingly approved a new Constitution in a weekend referendum, Interior Ministry officials said on Monday 26 June. Officials said that based on early returns they believed that 80% to 90% voted on Sunday 25 June to approve the Constitution, the first in a series of votes to return the country to democracy, reports the Mail and Gaurdian.

The international community must press Mauritania’s leaders who seized power in a coup in August 2005 to respect their promises of democratic transition. The new strong men have made a good start in some ways but some are closely linked to the old regime and may prefer not to redress past injustices. This could fuel political tensions. Deep and controversial reforms cannot be completed quickly, but the government should at least work closely with all national political forces to take initial more

More than 30 would-be migrants were missing and believed dead on Sunday after their boat collided with a fishing vessel as it set out from this African desert country toward Europe, according to officials and doctors who treated survivors. The boat was carrying 57 people and had been at sea for about 17 days before the accident late on Saturday, said Commandant Sidi Ould Ahmed of Mauritania's military police. He said 32 people were still missing.

More than 40 African migrants heading for Spain's Canary Islands drowned at the weekend when their boats sank off the West African coast, Mauritania's Red Crescent organisation said on Monday (March 13). More than 40 other migrants were rescued in the incidents, which took place in waters north of the Mauritanian coastal city of Nouadhibou, off the coasts of Western Sahara and Morocco, a Red Crescent spokesman said.