Source AP ©

Mauritania authorities arrest six people on suspicion of terrorism

Authorities have arrested three Moroccans of terrorismand three Mauritanians in this northwest African country on suspicion of terrorism.

The six men were arrested over the weekend in three Internet cafes in the capital, Nouakchott, said the city's police chief, Mohamed Ould Taleb. He said they are believed to belong to an Algerian group affiliated with al-Qaida.

The group, called al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Algiers last month that killed 33 people. It has also threatened to target non-Muslim foreigners who it says have exploited the region.

"We had very precise information on these people and their activities as related to foreign terrorist groups," Taleb said of those arrested. He declined to give further details.

Taleb did not say if the six were accused of taking part in any terrorist acts.

The arrest comes just after the start of Mauritania's second terrorism-related trial in less than a month. Fourteen people are awaiting judgment on collaborating with Islamic terrorist groups by participating in training and falsifying documents.

The weekend's arrest is particularly significant because the foreigners involved strengthen the argument that cross-border ties have developed among anti-government groups in Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania, said Mauritanian journalist and political commentator Mohamed Mahmoud Aboulmaaly.

In a case earlier this month, 24 Mauritanian Islamists were acquitted of collaborating with terrorist groups. A 25th defendant was found guilty of falsifying documents and sentenced to two years in prison.

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