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Mauritania Country Profile

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Mauritania at a Glance

Location:Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Senegal and Western Sahara
Climate:desert; constantly hot, dry, dusty
Terrain:mostly barren, flat plains of the Sahara; some central hills
Resources:iron ore, gypsum, copper, phosphate, diamonds, gold, oil, fish
Hazards:hot, dry, dust/sand-laden sirocco wind blows primarily in March and April; periodic droughts
Population:3,129,486 (July 2009 est.)




A Brief Profile of Mauritania

Independent from France in 1960, Mauritania annexed the southern third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1976, but relinquished it after three years of raids by the Polisario guerrilla front seeking independence for the territory. Maaouya Ould Sid Ahmed TAYA seized power in a coup in 1984 and ruled Mauritania with a heavy hand for more than two decades. A series of presidential elections that he held were widely seen as flawed. A bloodless coup in August 2005 deposed President TAYA and ushered in a military council that oversaw a transition to democratic rule. Independent candidate Sidi Ould Cheikh ABDALLAHI was inaugurated in April 2007 as Mauritania's first freely and fairly elected president. His term ended prematurely in August 2008 when a military junta deposed him and ushered in a military council government. Meanwhile, the country continues to experience ethnic tensions among its black population (Afro-Mauritanians) and White and Black Moor (Arab-Berber) communities.






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