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Coup welcomed

The week's news at a glance.

Nouakchott, Mauritania

Mauritanians have embraced the results of last week’s military coup, which freed the Muslim country from two decades of dictatorship. Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya, who took power in a 1984 coup, had been growing increasingly repressive, jailing political opponents and reportedly engaging in ethnic cleansing of the country’s minority blacks. Most Mauritanians are Arabic-speaking Berbers. Col. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, head of the 17-man junta that toppled Taya, met immediately with the heads of 30 political parties and pledged to hold elections within two years. Taya was an ally of the U.S. in the war on terror; Vall has not yet indicated whether that policy will change. Taya’s ouster was greeted with dancing in the streets.

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