Mauritania: Students Sacked because of Activism

The story of the expulsion of students from Nouakchott University due to their activism has resurfaced again, this time following a decision by the disciplinary council at the Medicine Faculty to sack a group of students who held a voluntary week to clean up the faculty. Also, the expelled students are charged with organising some sports activities students have been organizing annually and finally the distribution of papers containing course material and samples of exam answers.

That decision was met with great disdain by the expelled students’ colleagues, who suspended their studies and announced they will persist with their action until the council retracted its decision, which they considered a threat to all medicine students and an offense to them. Students also staged various protests, the latest being in front of the Presidential Palace.

Below is a video of the demonstration held facing the Presidential Palace, asking for the release of their comrades:

This not the first time such an incident happens at Nouakchott University. Twenty-one other students from various faculties (some of them senior ones) were expelled earlier this year in the aftermath of the protests witnessed by the establishments, which were asking for the fulfillment of some of their demands. Nouakchott University has been transformed this year into a war scene as Mauritanian Security Forces raided the campus on a daily basis, amid a crackdown on protesters and arrested activists. Moreover, officers with their military gear would camp for months at the university entrance. Another scandal hit the institution a few months ago when president's chief of staff Isselkou Ould Izidbih [former president of the University of Nouakchott] tried to bribe some students so that they renounce their activism. Instead, they refused and revealed the case to the media.

صورة من الطلاب المطرودين "صفحة موريتانيا الغد"

Photo of the sacked students

Mauritanian writer and blogger Abbass Braham noted [ar]

مع انتهاء المعركة الطلابية، ربما مؤقتا، مع طلبة المعهد العالي قامت إدارة شبيهة في كلية الطب باستخدام تكتيك شبيه في طرد طلاب من خيرة طلاب الكلية لمجرد أنه قام بنشاط تطوعي يتعلق بتنظيف الجامعة و تقديم الخدمات الطلابية المتعلقة بتوزيع الدروس و نماذج الامتحانات و حلولها. و هؤلاء الطلبة هم: -اسلم ولد ابراهيم -حبيب ولد اكاه -عبد الرحمن ولد محمد صالح -أحمد ولد الناه -ميمونة منت محمد الأمين -محمد سالم ولد محمد عالي
After the student battle at least temporarily with the higher institute students, a similar administration adopted a similar tactic by expelling some of the best faculty students just because they organized a voluntary activity consisting of cleaning the university and distributing course material and samples of exam papers and their answers. These students are: Islam Weld Ibrahim, Habib Weld Akah, Abdul Rahman Weld Mohamed Saleh, Ahmed Weld Al Nah, Maymounah Bint Mohamed Al Amind, Mohamed Salem Weld Mohammed Aali.

He continues:

من الواضح أن نظام الجنرال عزيز يقوم بسياسة “تصفية الجامعة” من خلال انتهاز كل فرصة، و لو كانت خارج الدروس لطرد مزيد من الطلاب. و يترافق هذا مع غياب سياسات تجاه “التسرب المدرسي” المتنامي في التعليم الابتدائي بسبب تشغيل الأطفال و العزوف عن الدراسة. إن الخطر الحقيقي هو في سياسات النظام التعليمية. يجب الانتباه له و الوقوف ضده
It is obvious that the regime of General Aziz is following the policy of ‘eliminating’ the university by seizing any opportunity even if it wasn't related to the courses, to expel more students. This move is accompanied by the absence of any policy with respect to the growing rate of students dropping out from primary classes at schools due to child labor and the suspension of studies. The real danger lies in the regime's educational policies. We should be aware of this and try to face it.

Blogger Mohaed Abdou also talks about this phenomena in his blog “الكاشف” (The Discoverer):

كل هؤلاء تم طردهم بمعايير يكرم عليها أصحابها في العالم، طردوا بسبب الخدمات الكبيرة التي قدموها للطلاب. طلاب آخرون في الجامعة ومن مختلف التخصصات متفوقين ونقابيين كان مصيرهم الطرد هذا العام في جامعة بدأت تستبدل طلبتها الجيدين بقوات مكافحة الشغب، و دخلت موسوعة الأرقام القياسية العالمية بعد حصد أكبر كمية نسبة طرد بتهمة الخدمات ومزاولة العمل النقابي، وأكبر عدد اقتحامات لحرم الجامعة في تاريخ البشرية إذ زاد عدد الاقتحامات من قوات الشرطة ومكافحة الشغب فقط لهذا العام على 100 اقتحام.
All these were expelled for reasons for which people are usually honored. They were expelled because of the many services they provided to students. Other students from this university and from various departments, among them some brilliant ones and other unionists, also faced the same fate. This year, the university started to replace its good students with riot police and entered the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest expulsion operation due to services and activism and the biggest number of raids on a university campus in human history, where the number of intrusions by police and and riot officers have reached more than 100 for this year only.

Mauritania of Tomorrow موريتانيا الغد Facebook Page also tackled the story:

لايزال قرار الطرد الظالم بحق 6 طلاب من كلية الطب ساري المفعول، حسب مقربين من هؤلاء الطلاب فهم مجموعة من المتميزين دراسيا والمتفوقين دائما في كلية الطب حديثة النشأة، الخدومين جدا، تهمتهم أنهم قاموا رفقة زملائهم في نقابة منتخبة بالقيام بمجموعة أنشطة تطوعية من بينها تنظيف الكلية وحملة تبرع بالدم وتوزيع الدروس والامتحانات في أنشطة معتادة كل سنة، وبدل التكريم في خطوة غريبة تمت مكافئتهم بالطرد

The unjust decision against those six students is still in force. According to some close people to the sacked students, they are a group of distinguished students who are high achievers in the newly established medicine school. They are quite helpful. Their charge is for having with other colleagues in an elected union, held voluntary activities to clean the faculty, organise a blood donation drive and distribute course material and sample exam questions, just like what happens in any year. So instead of being honored and in a strange move they were rewarded by being sacked.

Al Dedda Weld Ibrahim tweeted:

@dedda04تكاد السنة الدراسية تحكم إغلاقها و معاناة الطلبة المطرودين لا تزال مستمرة

The academic year is almost over and the torment of the sacked students is still ongoing

Mohamed Abdou also says:

@medabdou هل تعلم أن الطلبة الذين طردوا من كلية الطب هم طلبة متفوقون بإمتياز دائما، وأنهم طردوا فقط لمزاولتهم العمل النقابي ؟

Did you know that the expelled students are high achievers and they were sacked just because of their union engagement ?

He added:

@medabdou يبدو اننا أخيرا حطمنا أحد الأرقام القياسية، نحن ياسادتي نحطم الرقم القياسي وبدون منازع في إقتحام الجامعة من قبل الشرطة.
It looks like we broke one of the record numbers. We are undisputed in breaking the record of police raiding the university.

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