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Mauritanian president appears on TV after shooting

The president of Mauritania has appeared on television after being been wounded by a gunshot as he was traveling in a convoy. President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has arrived in France for further treatment.

In his appearance on state television, Abdel Aziz spoke from his hospital bed after receiving treatment for his injury.

"I want to calm all citizens," he said in a statement broadcast on the state-owned TVM station. "The operation last night was a success thanks to the effectiveness of the medial team."

"I want to reassure everyone about my state of health after this incident committed by error by an army unit on an unpaved road near Touela," he added. "Thanks to God, I am doing well."

Earlier, Mauritania's communications minister had appeared on national television to deliver a statement about the incident.

"On his way back to Nouakchott, the presidential convoy was shot by a Mauritanian patrol ... as they did not recognize his convoy," news agencies quoted Hamdi Ould Mahjoub as saying. "The president was shot on that occasion but he is lightly wounded and his life is not threatened."

"The Mauritanian people can be reassured, the president is fine," he said, adding that Abdel Aziz "was slightly wounded and he got out of the vehicle unassisted upon arrival at the hospital, where he walked in without difficulty."

Abdel Aziz was flown to Paris by medical plane and has been admitted to a hospital for further treatment.

Abdel Aziz, 55, who first came to power in a 2008 military coup, won the 2009 presidential election. His term in office runs until 2014.

pfd,tj/ch (Reuters, AFP)