NOUAKCHOTT, Sept 18 Mauritanian President
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz replaced the ministers of the interior,
foreign affairs, and mines and oil in a cabinet overhaul late on
Abdel Aziz, an ally of the West in the fight against al
Qaeda in West Africa, retained Prime Minister Moulaye Ould
Mohamed Laghdhaf in the shake-up that saw a total of 12
ministries affected by changes.
The presidential decree announcing the reshuffle, which was
read on state television, did not give a reason for the move.
All main cabinet positions went to close allies of the
president, signalling a possible rolling back of overtures made
to the opposition ahead of legislative elections due to be held
Mohamed Ould Ahmed Salem Ould Mohamed Rare, former governor
of Trarza province was named interior minister. He replaced
Mohamed Ould Boilil, a veteran politician who is expected to run
for a seat in a southern constituency along the border with
Senegal that many believe could fall to the opposition.
Ahmed Ould Teguedi, until now the country's ambassador to
the United Nations, was appointed as foreign minister, taking
over from Hamady Ould Baba Ould Hamady who will now serve as
minister of fishing.
Mohamed Ould Khouna, previously delegate minister for new
technologies, was appointed minister of petroleum, energy and
mines, while Sidi Ould Zein - a former adviser to the prime
minister - was named justice minister.
Straddling black and Arab Africa on the continent's west
coast, Mauritania, a country of 3.2 million people, is an iron
ore, copper and gold producer with a budding off-shore oil and
The country has launched at least two air strikes on
Islamist camps in neighbouring Mali since 2010. The al
Qaeda-linked fighters seized the northern two-thirds of Mali
last year, forcing a French-led military intervention earlier
this year to drive them out.
(Reporting by Laurent Prieur; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by