Military officer who fired at Mauritanias president says it was mistake

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The military officer who fired at Mauritania’s president last week appeared on TV saying that he made a “mistake” when firing at the leader’s car.

Lieutenant Elhaj Ould Hmoudy said that he fired at a car not knowing that Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdul Aziz was inside.

While expressing his gratitude to the president for not arresting him or putting him on trial, he said that he was suspicious about a vehicle driven by a turbaned man on a road near the capital, Nouakchott.

Hmoody later informed his colleague that they should drive a civilian vehicle to inspect the suspicious vehicle.

Trying to fulfill their duties, Hmoody and his colleague made it obvious that the driver of the suspicious car needs to pullover, but it sped instead compelling them to fire.

After firing, President Abdulaziz was wounded with two bullets.

The lieutenant, who showed great sorrow when describing the details, admitted that he was not in his military uniform when he ordered the driver of the suspicious car to stop, and that he used his personal car to follow it.

Hmoody said after questioning, he was allowed back to work after two days from the incident.

Colonel Tayib Ould Ibrahim Asniba said that Hmoody committed professional errors by acting militarily while wearing non-military attire and driving a civilian car.

“Although the lieutenant acted unprofessionally, the head of Staff understood his intention since he is a young officer and lacks experience. He was forgiven and he is back to work,” he added.

The president was shot on October 13th and was flown to Paris for treatment.

Mauritanian authorities hope that the appearance of Hmoody on national TV will convince the population that the incident was a mistake.

Opposition leader, Saleh Ould Hanena, has called for the release of more information regarding the incidence. He also demanded that the president’s medical report to be made public.

The opposition insists that the health of the president is deteriorating.