- Eight militants of an candidate of a Mauritanian presidential candidate eliminated in the first polls round, Rashid Mustapha, forced their way into the offices of 'Al-Jazeera' in the capital Nouakchott to threaten the staff. They claimed the foreign broadcaster had committed too little airtime to Mr Mustapha.
Shortly before the incident, which took place on Tuesday, 'Al-Jazeera' journalists had received death threats by phone. The attackers included Mohammed Nema Oumar, the head of communications for the failed candidate. Their only beef with 'Al-Jazeera' was its failure to allocate enough coverage to the campaigns of their rather unknown candidate.
Nouakchott police confirmed to have arrested four of the assailants while speeding their efforts to trace others. The bureau chief of the broadcasting outfit in Mauritania, Mohammed Baba, told the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) that he was content with the determination of the police to investigate the case.
The raid was condemned by RSF and Mauritanian journalists, who expressed their solidarity with their colleagues by signing a petition to condemn and shame Mr Oumar for leading the devilish act. All praised the Nouakchott police for its rather new policy of defending the press.
19 candidates contested in the first round of the presidential polls in Mauritania on 11 March but none of the candidates emerged with 50 percent of the votes, which is why a run-off voting is a necessity.
Sidi Mohomed Ould Cheikh led the polls with 24.79 percent. He was followed by Ahmed Ould Daddah, a former opposition politician who leads the Rally for Democratic Forces and polled 20.68 percent of the votes.
In the final round polls on 25 March - on Sunday next - Mr Abdellahi and Mr Daddah will challenge each other.
Over 70 percent of the electorate voted in the last polls, which according to the Mauritanian Interior Minister, Mohamed Ahmed Ould Mohamed Amin, was necessitated by the importance Mauritanian voters attached to their democratic rights. He also attributed it to the political parties' quick desires to instil democracy and political pluralism.
The elections came on the heels of a 19 month military rule led by Colonel Ely Ould Vall who overthrew the country's dictator, Maaouya Ahmed Ould Taya, in August 2005. Colonel Vall stuck to his 2005 promise and did not present himself as a candidate to this month's presidential polls.
The winner of the second round would be inaugurated 45 days after the polls. The officials of the Military Council for Justice and Democracy led by Colonel Vall said they will then relinquish power and return to the barracks.
Colonel Vall during his reign has embarked Mauritania on the most deep-ploughing democratisation process in its history, in close dialogue with civil society and political forces. Among the first steps of his military junta was to liberate the heavily censored independent press, which since then has been under his wings of protection.
The military junta also has made sure that public media - which still play a dominant part in Mauritania - reported fairly and freely about any political affairs in the country. Public media were obliged to treat all political candidates equally during the election campaign - something media organisations such as RSF have testified they have completed.
Legislation aiming at promoting a balanced presentation of all candidates and parties of course only was applicable for public media. Independent newspapers were free to point out their favourite candidates, while foreign media such as 'Al-Jazeera' were equally free to report on the candidates they found most interesting.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.