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VOA Interview: Ousted Mauritanian President Says He is Legitimate Leader


Mauritania's ousted president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi says he intends to come back to power and says he will not accept the military coup that overthrew him.

Mr. Abdallahi told VOA that he is still the legitimate president of Mauritania and believes that he can still count on the backing of the international community.

He also criticized the ruling junta for, in his view, not doing enough to address the terrorist threat in the country.

A military junta, led by General Abdel Aziz, overthrew the president in August. After taking power, General Aziz accused Mr. Abdallahi of being weak against terrorists, creating divisions in the army, and allowing corruption to worsen.

Shortly after the coup, Mauritania's national assembly passed a law creating a special court to try the deposed president and his wife on charges of corruption and failed leadership.

The African Union suspended Mauritania's membership after the coup and also warned of possible sanctions.

Last month, the United States issued travel restrictions on the leaders of the coup.

And the European Union has called on the military junta to restore Mauritania's democratically-elected leadership before November 20 or face sanctions.

Mr. Abdallahi was moved last week from detention in the capital Nouakchott, to house arrest in his home village of Lemden.

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