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Mauritania militia forms state council to confer legal powers on leader

[JURIST] The newly-formed state council of the military group which overthrew [JURIST report] the government of Mauritania [CIA factbook profile] last week passed a law on Tuesday conferring on its leader, Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, all the powers of deposed President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi [BBC profile]. On Monday, the group released [BBC News report] Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waqef [IBT report] and three other officials close to the president, but retained custody of Abdallahi.

At one time, Aziz supported Abdallahi, but the two split after Abdallahi made political concessions to conservative Muslim groups. In 2005, Aziz also backed a coup [JURIST report] to remove then-President Maaoya Sid'Ahmed Taya [BBC report]. Taya himself had come to power in a coup two decades prior and survived numerous other attempts [JURIST report] to overthrow his administration.

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