Mauritania suffered its first-ever suicide bombing attack on Saturday, wounding one Mauritanian and two French citizens. Though Western media coverage has thus far been minimal, Dubai-based Al Arabiya reported from Nouakchott shortly after the attack, noting the timing in this article:
The attack came three days after Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who toppled Mauritania's first democratically elected leader in a military coup last year, was sworn in as president of the Saharan country after winning an election last month.
The Moor Next Door has penned a detailed piece on the incident, painting a picture of a public furious at the attack but even more frustrated by the regime:
Responses to articles on the attack in the Arabic internet media are telling. A response to an initial report on the attack exclaimed “rid us of the General and then we will call you a shahid (martyr)!” Others decry the attacker’s stupidity, mocking his Haratine origins. The Mauritanians are angry, as they have been in the wake of just about every terrorist attack over the last however many years. As much as there is disgust and frustration with the bombing, much of that is channeled back at the regime. While the bombing is the biggest Mauritanian “story” to catch western media attention since the election Mauritanians are more concerned with other troubles related to legitimacy and creeping despotism.
Peace Corps blogger Becky, who is serving in Mauritania, notes the possibility that Peace Corps volunteers serving in the country may be sent home and laments:
This has been a somber day for Peace Corp Mauritanian volunteers. Not just because it puts our future in jeopardy, but also because a country that we have grown to call home will now be thought of by the world as a dangerous and unstable place. We are always reminded that terrorists are extremists and do not represent the mainstream thinking. It will be very difficult for me to leave all those people who have done nothing wrong, although those that I have spoken to do understand.
Mauritanian Twitter user weddady expresses frustration in his Twitter feed, noting:
Although few bloggers are discussing the matter as of yet, France has condemned the attack, and new president Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz has warned of future terrorist attacks.