Monday, October 15, 2012

We arrived in Bamako last night and found the city in giggles. It was a straight forward case of Shadenfreude. There were pictures of the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz on France 24, speaking to his nation from a hospital bed in France, whence he had been whisked with a bullet in his head, amid fears of an attempted coup. Having made a preliminary enquiry as to his prognosis, I allowed myself to join into the general mirth, since he is doing fine. You will recall the unfortunate incident a couple of weeks ago when 16 Muslim Preachers, many of whom were Mauritanians, were shot dead on a remote military checkpoint to the north east of Segou. They had all travelled in a vehicle which refused to stop, although they had been flagged down and several rounds of warning shots had been fired into the air. This gave western journalists like Adam Nossiter of the NY Times the opportunity to once again question the competence of the Malian Army. It also created a major diplomatic incident between Mali and Mauritania, with the latter also claiming major incompetence and outrage at the slaughter of innocent fundamentalist Islamic preachers...ahem. The bullet hole in the President’s head was due to the fact that his vehicle had forced a military barrier inside of Mauritania, and his own security forces had opened fire... The moral of this story: do remember to slow down and particularly to stop when asked if you arrive at a military check point, especially in the Sahel right now, and even if you happen to be a President. This is actually quite simple, and has always been carried out automatically by all normal people with innocent intent and nothing to hide.


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