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American Shot Dead in Mauritania

An American man has been shot dead in the Mauritania's capital, Nouakchott.  Witnesses said two men tried to kidnap the American and when he refused to go with them they shot him three times.

As an American man was getting out of his car Tuesday in the West African city of Nouakchott, he was shot dead by two armed men, said witnesses.  VOA reporter Seyid Auld Seyid was in the Mauritanian capital.

"The American was assassinated 15 meters from his office next to the area of Nouakchott's oldest mosque.  Right now, the state's prosecutor and police are on the scene of the crime," he said.

Seyid also spoke to witnesses who were at the scene.

"They have seen two young men wearing trousers and covering their faces.  They were trying first to take [the American] as hostage, and when he refused, they have shooted him in his head three times," he added.

In December 2007 in Mauritania, four French tourists were killed by the North African branch of al-Qaida, and in 2008 the Israeli Embassy was attacked.  Seyid said it is still unknown who committed Tuesday's shooting.

"Up to now there is no position or any side or any organization claiming this responsibility of the assassination," he explained.

A moderate Muslim nation, Mauritania has been considered an ally to the West in its fight against al-Qaida.

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