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The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a former French colony in northwest Africa. It is bordered on the north by the Maghreb states of Algeria and Morocco; east by Mali; west by the Atlantic Ocean; and south by Senegal.

Relations between the government and Mauritanian opposition groups have been strained since late 2000 when several opposition leaders and supporters were arrested. In December 2000, a presidential decree dissolved the opposition party Union of Democratic...

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