The government of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdellah came to an end Wednesday in the West African state of Mauritania, as military officers arrested both Abdellah and the prime minister in a coup against a government denounced for its “corruption and ineptitude in handling rising food prices and oil revenues.” Sound familiar at all?

International Herald Tribune:

A group of senior military officers in Mauritania staged a bloodless coup Wednesday against the country’s first freely elected government in more than 20 years, arresting the country’s president and prime minister in the process.

Coups have punctuated the tumultuous history of Mauritania, an important ally of the West in the fight against terrorism. Since it won its independence from France in 1960, there have been about a dozen attempts to overthrow governments, many of them successful.

The 95-member National Assembly has been increasingly critical, accusing the government of corruption and ineptitude in handling rising food prices and oil revenues. The four military officers, who call themselves the National Council, appointed as their leader General Muhammad Ould Abdelaziz, formerly the head of the elite presidential guard.

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