Mauritanian President Maaouiya Sid Ahmed Ould Taya took to the airwaves on Monday to praise loyal army units for seeing off a coup attempt which led to two days of heavy fighting in the capital. Less than 24 hours earlier, Ould Taya appeared to have been ousted as rebel forces took over the presidential palace after launching a coup early on Sunday morning.

Reporters sans frontières (RSF) has voiced its concern about the banning of the Islamist weekly "Raya" and the closure of its offices under an Interior Ministry order on 1 June 2003. "As far as we know, this Islamist publication has never called for violence, contrary to what the Mauritanian authorities say," RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard said. "One cannot help thinking that this ban on a newspaper that was never sparing in its criticism of the government is simply a means to gag a more

Cybercafes are springing up like mushrooms, despite the slow speed of the connections, according to Olivia Marsaud of On a short visit to Tevragh Zeina, a district north of the capital Nouakchott she counted no less than 15 of them. Read the full report at

Some 12.6 percent of children under the age of five years in parts of southern Mauritania suffer from acute malnutrition, according to a study released this week by World Vision, an international non-governmental organisation.

The World Organisations Against Torture, or OMCT, is requesting concerned parties to write to the Mauritanian authorities urging them to halt their intimidation of striking workers and encourage both parties to engage in negotiations. This follows information received by the organisation about intimidation used to break a strike that started on October 19 2002 in Nouakchott.