The military forces of Mauritania are listed by the IISS Military Balance 2007 as comprising 15,870 personnel with an additional 5,000 paramilitaries.
The Navy (Marine Mauritanienne) has 620 personnel and 10 patrol and coastal combatants, with bases at Nouadhibou and Nouakchott. The CIA reports that the navy includes naval infantry. The small Air Force (Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, FAIM) has 250 personnel, 2 FTB-337 aircraft, 15 transport aircraft of various types, and 4 SF-260E trainers.
The 5,000 paramilitaries are divided in the National Gendarmerie (3000), and the National Guard (2000) who both report to the Ministry of the Interior. Other paramilitary services reported by the CIA in 2001 include the National Police, Presidential Guard.
Saleh Ould Hanenna, an former army major, led the attempted 2003 Mauritanian coup d'état in June 2003. It aimed to overthrow President Maaouya Ould Taya. He commanded a rebel section of the Army during two days of heavy fighting in Nouakchott. With the failure of the coup Hanenna initially escaped capture, and formed a group called the Knights of Change with Mohamed Ould Cheikhna, but he was arrested on October 9, 2004.
General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a career soldier and high-ranking officer, was a leading figure in the 2005 Mauritanian coup d'état that deposed President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya. In August 2008 General Ould Abdel Aziz led the 2008 Mauritanian coup d'état that toppled President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. Following the latter coup, Abdel Aziz became President of the High Council of State as part of what was described as a political transition leading to a new election. He resigned from that post in April 2009 in order to stand as a candidate in the July 2009 presidential election, which he won. He was sworn in on 5 August 2009.
The Army is 15,000 strong, according to the IISS, with six military regions, two camel corps battalions, one battalion of T-54/55 battle tanks, one armoured reconnaissance squadron, eight garrison infantry battalions, seven motorised infantry battalions, one commando/para battalion, 3 artillery battalions, 4 air defence batteries, one engineer company, and one guard battalion. The 1ère région militaire is at Nouadhibou, 2nd Military Region is at Zouerate, 3rd Military Region is at Atar, 4ème région militaire may be at Tidjikdja, 5th Military Region headquarters is at Néma,, 6th Military Region may be in the area of the capital, and the 7th Military Region may be at Aleg.
Full article ▸