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Mauritania: Diplomat Sets Himself Alight

A few minutes before Iftar (the time Muslims break their fast in Ramadan), Hassan Ould Abba [ar], a Mauritanian diplomat who used to work as an advisor at the Mauritanian Embassy in Kuwait, set himself alight [ar] in the district of Ksar, North of the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott. An ambulance rushed to rescue him, but he passed away upon arrival at hospital.

It is worth mentioning that this is not the first self-immolation suicide case in Mauritania. Two years ago, following Bouazizi‘s self immolation, Yacoub Ould Dahoud [ar], a Mauritanian citizen, set himself on fire in protest at injustices, after leaving a message on his blog criticizing the situation in Mauritania.

Media sources reported that the diplomat was upset because the Mauritanian regime banned him from traveling to his workplace, and replaced [ar] him with another diplomat who does not hold any degree, or qualification. However, other sources, reported the diplomat's family said that he had been going through serious psychological troubles [ar].

Meanwhile, a group of Mauritanian diplomats had expressed their dismay at the draft of a law for a private diplomacy system, expected to be implemented soon. They criticized the exclusion, and the marginalisation of Foreign Ministry employees, and the wrong path followed by the ministry. They also accused Foreign Ministry officials of resorting to “corruption and nepotism” when appointing the ministry's personnel.

The self-immolation incident drew the attention of Mauritanian Twitter users, who have been reacting to it strongly.

Majdi Ahmed wrote [ar]:

@mejdmr شياب تويتر الليلة أفطرو علي إشعال ديبلوماسي للنار في نفسه وبعض فضائح الحكومة التي لاتنتهي… الحمد لله الذي هداهم فصامو ورزقهم فأفطرو

@mejdmr: Twitter users broke their fast tonight on the news of a diplomat setting himself on fire, and some of the government's never-ending scandals…Praise to Allah for guiding them to fast, and provided them with food to break their fast.

He added:

‏‏@mejdmr رغم الزيادة المتواصلة في أسعار المحروقات، إلا أن ذالك لم يمنع بعض المواطنين من إضرام النار في أنفسهم !!

‏‏@mejdmr: The ongoing increase in fuel prices, is not preventing some citizens from setting themselves alight

He also hinted at a speech during which the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said he would be ready to give gasoline to every young person desiring to set himself on fire.

@mejdmr ولد عبد العزيز كان قد قطع وعدا علي نفسه بتوفير المواد المشتعلة اللازمة لأي مواطن يرغب في إشعال نفسه!

@mejdmr: Ould Abd Aziz had promised to provide citizens desiring to set themselves alight with the necessary flammable materials!

The 25 February Movement discussed the self immolation phenomenon in Mauritania:

@m25fev وفاة موريتاني أحرق نفسه في مسلسل الاحتراق الذاتي جراء البؤس أو اليأس أو هما معا رجاءا أحرقوا الظالمين بدل احراق انفسكم

@m25fev: As a result of misery or despair or both, another Mauritanian passed away in a series of self-immolations. Please burn the oppressors instead of burning yourselves

Mohamed Ould Sid'Ahmed requested not to politically abuse the incident:

‏@med_sidahmed اذا كان الرجل اضرم النار في نفسه نتيجة اضطرابات نفسية فالمرجو احترام شعور عائلته بعدم توظيف الحادثة سياسيا. انا لله وانا اليه راجعون.

‏@med_sidahmed: Please respect his family and do not use the incident since he set himself alight as a result of psychological troubles. We belong to God and to Him shall we return.

Activist Sidi Ould Mohamed said he did not believe the diplomat suffered from psychological troubles:

@sidimedlemin لا أثق أن ولد آبيه بالأمس لم يكن في كامل قواه العقلية.. لقد وجدت شابا كلمه قبل قليل من إضرام النار في نفسه

@sidimedlemin: I do not believe reports claiming Ould Abba was in a state of mental incapacity yesterday. I met a young man who talked to him a short while before setting himself on fire

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