Two Security Personnel Fatally Shot as Four Inmates Successfully Escape Prison

Four jihadists escaped from a Nouakchott prison on Sunday evening, in Mauritania, during an operation that led to the killing of two security personnel, according to what was announced yesterday by the Mauritanian Interior Ministry. The ministry said in A statement: Four terrorists managed to escape from Nouakchott Central Jail after attacking guards, which led to a firefight, during which two members of the National Guard were killed, while two others were injured. The identity of the fugitives was not disclosed. A military officer, who requested anonymity, said that two of them are sentenced to death, while the other two are in awaiting trial on charges of belonging to a terrorist organization. The same source said their vehicle was found in northeast Nouakchott. The death penalty is not applied in Mauritania since 1987. The ministry said that “the National Guard has strengthened its control over the prison and immediately started following the trail of the fugitives to arrest them as soon as possible”, inviting citizens to report any information that could help in their arrest. The cooperation of the population in the fight against terrorism is part of the link with the security system that protects the country from armed violence, while militants continue to spread in neighboring countries of the Sahel. While neighboring Mali has been busy counting its dead since the start of the jihadist rebellion in 2012, Mauritania, which has a population of four million, has not seen any attacks on its territory since 2011. However, it has regularly targeted by these movements in the first decade of the century in course, especially through bombings and kidnappings. Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad make up the G5 Sahel, which Mali left in 2022, and are part of its joint anti-jihadist force backed by France, the United States and the United Nations. France asks Nouakchott for broad cooperation in security and defense as well as development. Similarly, the Mauritanian authorities are investing in the training of soldiers, allocating huge expenses, new equipment, salaries paid through the banks and social support to the soldiers. Mauritania tends towards dialogue to win the battle of minds. A dialogue between leading scientists and around 70 prison surveys has been organized since 2020. The religious leaders were able to convince about fifty of them to repent. Some of them have appeared in television and in mosques by preaching the strict application of the Islamic faith to young people. More than 500 imams have been recruited and young people have been given professional training in traditional Islamic schools. In 2022, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Cheikh Al-Ghazwani pardoned eight prisoners convicted of “terrorism” under the rationale of “fighting” extremism through “dialogue”, according to the official news agency. Similarly, Mauritania has organized, in several occasions, dialogue sessions with its armed prisoners, since the days of former president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (2008-2019), with the aim of obtaining their repentance and reintegrating them into social life. About 30 of them benefited.