Most Mauritanian parties back government against Al-Qaeda
Mauritanian political parties on Monday expressed support for military action against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) after the execution of French hostage Michel Germaneau.
The National Rally for Reform and Development (Tawassoul), a moderate Islamist party, issued a statement expressing "firm support for the Mauritanian armed forces in their action against the forces of terrorism."
"Our country has always been attacked by terrorists and it is legitimate that we respond to their odious crimes," Tawassoul stated.
AQIM has said that it executed Germaneau, a 78-year-old aid worker, on Saturday in revenge for a joint raid in Mali last Thursday by Mauritanian and French troops, in which six fundamentalists were killed.
Mauritanian troops have launched other operations against AQIM, which has been active on the west African country's soil, taking hostages and attacking the army in deadly raids.
The Alliance for Justice and Democracy/Movement for Renewal of opposition leader Ibrahima Moktar Sarr stated that Thursday's joint raid into Mali was "a reaction in legitimate self-defence for the numerous barbaric attacks perpetrated by these terrorist groups" inside Mauritania.
"We seize this opportunity to bring our total and unreserved support to the armed forces," the Alliance added in a statement.
The ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) "condemns" the killing of Germaneau and also "calls for unfailing support for the armed forces."
A party from the radical opposition, the Popular Progressist Alliance (APP), led by National Assembly speaker Messaoud Ould Boulkheir, warned however that the "action of the authorities exposes to danger our relationship with neighbouring countries and the lives of our citizens."
According to the APP, "the justifications and arguments are not sufficient to carry out an incursion on to Malian territory."
The Mauritanian opposition on Saturday expressed its "deep concern" after Thursday's raid against AQIM, stating that it puts "our country in a state of undeclared war ... without the support of parliament."
© 2010 AFP