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Mauritanian Army

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Title: Mauritanian Army  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Military of Mauritania, MILAN, Panhard AML, Union of the Forces of Progress, Mustafa Ould Salek, Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Louly, Saleh Ould Hanenna
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mauritanian Army

Mauritanian Armed Forces

Emblem of the Mauritanian Armed Forces.
Service branches Army
Mauritanian Navy
Islamic Air Force of Mauritania[1]
Headquarters Nouakchott
President General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
Conscription 2 years
Available for
military service
718,713[2] males, age 15–49,
804,622 females, age 15–49
Fit for
military service
480,042 males, age 15–49,
581,473 females, age 15–49
Reaching military
age annually
36,116 males,
36,826 females
Active personnel 15,870 personnel, 5,000 para-military[3]
Budget $37.1 million (FY2001)[4]
Percent of GDP 5.5% (FY2010)[1]
Foreign suppliers  China
Related articles
History Western Sahara War
Mauritania–Senegal Border War
2003 Mauritanian coup d'état
2005 Mauritanian coup d'état
2008 Mauritanian coup d'état

The military forces of Mauritania are listed by the IISS Military Balance 2007 as comprising 15,870 personnel with an additional 5,000 paramilitaries.[3]

The Navy (Marine Mauritanienne) has 620 personnel and 10 patrol and coastal combatants, with bases at Nouadhibou and Nouakchott. The CIA reports that the navy includes naval infantry. The small Air Force (Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie, FAIM) has 250 personnel, 2 FTB-337 aircraft, 15 transport aircraft of various types, and 4 SF-260E trainers.

The 5,000 paramilitaries are divided in the National Gendarmerie (3,000), and the National Guard (2,000) who both report to the Ministry of the Interior. Other paramilitary services reported by the CIA in 2001 include the National Police, Presidential Guard.[4]


Saleh Ould Hanenna, a former army major, led the attempted 2003 Mauritanian coup d'état in June 2003. It aimed to overthrow President Maaouya Ould Taya. He commanded a rebel section of the Army during two days of heavy fighting in Nouakchott. With the failure of the coup Hanenna initially escaped capture, and formed a group called the Knights of Change with Mohamed Ould Cheikhna, but he was arrested on October 9, 2004.[5]

General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a career soldier and high-ranking officer, was a leading figure in the 2005 Mauritanian coup d'état that deposed President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya. In August 2008 General Ould Abdel Aziz led the 2008 Mauritanian coup d'état that toppled President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. Following the latter coup, Abdel Aziz became President of the High Council of State as part of what was described as a political transition leading to a new election.[6] He resigned from that post in April 2009 in order to stand as a candidate in the July 2009 presidential election, which he won. He was sworn in on 5 August 2009.[7]


The Army is 15,000 strong, according to the IISS, with six military regions, two camel corps battalions, one battalion of T-54/55 battle tanks, one armoured reconnaissance squadron, eight garrison infantry battalions, seven motorised infantry battalions, one commando/para battalion, 3 artillery battalions, 4 air defence batteries, one engineer company, and one guard battalion.[3] The 1ère région militaire is at Nouadhibou, 2nd Military Region is at Zouerate, 3rd Military Region is at Atar, 4ème région militaire may be at Tidjikdja, 5th Military Region headquarters is at Néma,[8] 6th Military Region may be in the area of the capital, and the 7th Military Region may be at Aleg.[9]

The Mauritanian military is currently involved in Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara. Previous U.S. anti-terrorist engagement included training under the Pan Sahel Initiative. Under the PSI, a 10th Special Forces Group training team carried out a one week border monitoring training programme in January 2004.[10]

The IISS listed equipment in 2007 as including 35 T-54/55 main battle tanks, 70 reconnaissance vehicles (20 Panhard AML-60, 40 Panhard AML-90, 10 Alvis Saladin) 25 wheeled APCs (estimate 20 Panhard M3 and 5 Alvis Saracen), 194 artillery pieces (80 towed: 36 HM-2/M-101, 20 D-30, 24 D-74; 114 mortars (60 60-mm, 30 Brandt 120-mm), 24 MILAN ATGM, 114 recoilless rocket launchers (est. 90 M-40A1 106mm, est 24 M-20 75mm), est 48 RPG-7 Knout, 104 SAMs (est 100 SA-7 Grail, and a reported 4 SA-9 Gaskin), and 82 towed anti-aircraft guns (14.5mm, including 12 ZPU-4, 23mm, 37mm, 12 57 mm AZP S-60, and 12 100 KS-19s.[11]

Air force

After achieving independence in 1960 the Faidem's (Force Aerienne Islamique de Mauritanie) was supplied equipment by France, such as C-47s and MH.1521 Broussards, which was later replaced by the Britten-Norman BN-2A Defender between 1976–78 and had operated as a transport and observation squadron in the Western Sahara War.[12] During the same time two Cessna 337s and two DHC-5 Buffalo STOL transports were supplied in 1977-78 with one DHC-5 crashing almost immediately and the other being returned to De Havilland Canada in 1979. After the Polisario Front shot down one Defender and damaged two in 1978 the Mauritanian government ordered six IA-58 Pucarás for ground attack duties from Argentina; this order was later cancelled after a Mauritanian military coup.

More recent procurements have been from China in the form of the Harbin Y-12 II turboprop transports were delivered in September 1995, one crashed in April 1996. A second one crashed on July 12, 2012.[13] The Xian Y7-100C (a copy of the AN-24 transport) was delivered from October 1997, which crashed in May 1998.

Aircraft Type Versions In service Notes
Embraer EMB 312 Tucano Training EMB-312F 4 Ex-French with French electronics.
One lost.
Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano COIN A-29B 1 Delivered in 2012.[14]
Basler BT-67 Transport BT-67 Unknown (1?)
Cessna 337 Light transport FTB-337 2
Marchetti SF-260E Basic training SF260E 4
Harbin Y-12 Transport Y-12 Unknown (0?) One was destroyed in an accident in April 1996 and a second on July 12, 2012.
Harbin Z-9 Utility helicopter Z-9 2
EADS CASA C-212 Aviocar Transport & patrol C-212-200 1 One will be delivered in 2008 from Spain.[15]


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