Mauritania army in 'control' after strikes on Al-Qaeda

Mauritanian warplanes yesterday attacked militants of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), destroying three vehicles carrying fighters. They were accused by Malian politicians of having killed two civilians.

Official figures released by Mauritania on Saturday said the fighting had left 12 dead and an unknown number of wounded in the AQIM camp with six dead and eight wounded in the ranks of the army.

A high-placed military source in Nouakchott told AFP today: "The situation is under control and our army has done a good job in ensuring the security of our country and our sub-region."

"The terrorists are short of everything, food, support, a base and ammunition depots, at least in the whole area west of Timbuktu on the border with Mauritania, where we have conducted operations against them."

The Mauritanian army launched the offensive on Friday after a convoy of militants was spotted approaching the Mauritanian border from Mali.

Yesterday, a plane bombed three vehicles carrying AQIM members. A local mayor in Mali denounced the air raids, saying the victims had been Malian civilians.

"Two women from our region are dead and four men are wounded after gunfire from a Mauritanian plane this morning on their vehicle," Mohamed Lamine Ould Sidate, mayor of the town of Ber said yesterday.

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