Mauritania: Three arrested over slaying of French tourists

Nouakchott, 31 Dec. (AKI) - Mauritanian police over the weekend arrested three people in connection with the murder of four French tourists last week near the city of Alak, south of the capital, Nouakchott, pan-Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reported, quoting unnamed sources close to the investigation.

One of those arrested is called Samba Kisi and he was seized in the city of Buki, suspected of having acted as a getaway driver for the French tourists' killers.

The killers escaped in a car after opening fire on the tourists as they they had stopped for a roadside picnic, and are believed to have crossed into neighbouring Senegal.

Police have also detained Kisi's brother and sister, who are suspected of having abetted the killers, said al-Sharq al-Awsat.

A Kalashnikov assault rifle believed to have been the murder weapon, was recovered by police two days ago from a location close to the scene of the killings. A Mercedes believed to have been used by the killers to escape from the crime scene has also been recovered.

It is not yet clear if the killings were the handiwork of a criminal gang or militants linked to the al-Qaeda terror network.

Mauritania on Sunday announced tightened security at tourist sites after the 24 December murder of four Frenchmen led French operators to suspend holiday packages to the northwest African nation, France's AFP news agency reported.

A fifth member of the tourist group survived, and is currently recuperating back in France.


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