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Morocco-based unit foiled in try at Mauritanian coup

By WITH ANALYSIS FROM MONITOR CORRESPONDENTS AROUND THE WORLD, EDITED BY HILARY DEVRIES / March 17, 1981



Paris

Mauritania thwarted a coup attempt Monday and troops loyal to President Mohamed Khouna Ould Kaydalla Killed the leader of forces who tried to storm the presidential palace in the West African nation. The Mauritanian Embassy in Paris said the coup attempt was carried out by two army officers leading an opposition faction operating from Morocco.

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An embassy spokesman said security forces loyal to Mr. Kaydalla killed the leader of the abortive coup and arrested his colleague and a group of armed men who tried to storm into the presidential palace.

The abortive coup came while tensions were high between Mauritania and Morocco over Moroccan-annexed Western Sahara, where a nationalist movement is fighting against Moroccan forces in a bid to win independence for the terr itory.