Mauritania’s leading opposition political figure, Ahmed Ould Daddah, and two of his party militants were arrested on Wednesday and will be charged with tarnishing the country’s image by saying the government had agreed to accept Israeli nuclear waste, AFP said quoting an official source.
The source said that Daddah, president of l’Union des forces democratique (UFD); former minister Mohameden Ould Babah and Mohameden ould Icheddou, a lawyer, were arrested following a public rally in which Daddah told 10,000 people that the government had agreed to accept nuclear waste from Israel’s Dimona facility.
Reports of this first appeared in the Moroccan media, a Mauritanian peace activist told IRIN today, and after Mauritania’s current prime minister, Cheikh El Avia Ould Mohamed Khouna, visited Israel as foreign minister.
Communications Minister Saleh described the reports as “ridiculous”, and the peace activist said the deal was unlikely. He said that two or three years ago Mauritania refused a similar request form another Western nation.
The arrests might trigger violence in Mauritania because all three men were well known and had hundreds of thousands of supporters, the activist said. Daddah, the brother of Mauritania’s first president Moktar Ould Daddah, also told the rally that his party had discovered that just US $200,000 of $2.0 billion aid received since 1985 could be accounted for. He accused the Taya family of corruption and called for democracy and freedom in Mauritania.