World Bulletin / News Desk
President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz is "out of danger" and will remain at the helm of Mauritania while he recovers in France after being shot at a soldiers' checkpoint in what he said was an accident, the information minister said on Tuesday.
The government initially said he had been only "lightly wounded", although sources have said he was shot in the back during the incident, details of which remain sketchy.
The shooting late on Saturday set the coup-prone northwest African country on edge and the president appealed to Mauritanians to keep calm in a televised message from his hospital bed before he was flown out for further treatment.
"We are not at all concerned about the situation. The president is out of danger and he is being looked after in a specialised hospital and we hope he will soon return," Information Minister Hamdi Ould Mahjoub told Reuters by phone.
"The government under the authority of the prime minister continues to work normally, as when the president is travelling abroad. There is no power vacuum and the prime minister is coordinating with him," Mahjoub said.
Mauritanian state news agency AMI described his condition as "improving" and said he did not need further surgery. He underwent surgery in Nouakchott before being flown to France.
Abdel Aziz was elected in 2009 after seizing power a year earlier in a coup that cut short the rule of Mauritania's first democratically elected president.
While the country, an ally to the West against al Qaeda, has been stable politically since Abdel Aziz seized power, it lies on the fringes of the Sahara Desert where Islamist gunmen hold increasing sway.
Several sources, including from the country's security services and the president's office, have told Reuters that Abdel Aziz was driving towards the nation's capital with a family member when the shooting occurred on Saturday evening.
Like most of the country's elite, Abdel Aziz spent the weekend out of the capital, at his residence in the Inchiri region, about 150 km northeast of Nouakchott.
Sources said the president, who often prefers to use limited or no escorts during such trips, was at the wheel of a powerful four-wheel drive v e hicle speeding towards the capital.
"As nightfall was approaching, the president failed to slow down at a checkpoint. An officer at the checkpoint chased after the vehicle," one of the sources said, declining to be named.
"The president's vehicle was treated as suspicious because it was unmarked. It did not have escorts or guards, refused to stop and was driving at high speed towards the capital."
"The officer fired at the vehicle, a bullet hit the president in the back and came out through his abdomen," the source said.
New constitution sweeping endorsement of military who siezed power in May 22 coup.
Saddam-era fighters reject "changing the country's political and demographic structure" as Christians flee from ISIL threats.
Despite Western sanctions, he said Moscow would stand by separatists in eastern Ukraine whom, he described as part of a popular rising against an illegal coup.
Footage taken at the Egyptian presidential palace showed an official briefly raising a handheld metal-detecting wand to the lower part of Kerry's jacket before waving him through for the meeting
More than 1.2 million people in the enclave have no water or only limited access to water as power networks have been damaged or lack fuel for generators
Minister for Science and Technology says country developing 'human resources' for nuclear sector, state-run New Light of Myanmar reports.
Typhoon expected to hit China on Wednesday after making landfall in Taiwain late Tuesday.
The commission had been expected to declare Prabowo's rival, Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, as the election winner and next president.
Ali Abunimah, the founder of Electronic Intifada, quoted Israeli officer Anshel Pfeffer who said Hamas was no longer ”melting away like in the past,” but rather fighting with new equipment and tactics.
U.S. immigration courts have a backlog of 375,373 cases, almost 50,000 more than they faced two years ago, according to Justice Department figures.
The Palestinian resistance factions and Israel had two previous humanitarian ceasefires over the past week to provide assistance for the affected residents in the embattled Gaza Strip.
On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States is providing $47 million to help address the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Russian state investigators have detained four Moscow metro workers suspected of safety breaches but Besedin was not among them
A commuter train and a tourist train collided in Taebaek, a resort area about 200 km (125 miles) southeast of Seoul
The designation as a war - either international or civil - changes the game legally, because it turns both sides into combatants with equal liability for war crimes
Protesters gathered to march against the exile of Christians from Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) rebel group.