Four members of a French family on holiday in Mauritania have been shot dead during a picnic. At least two of those killed in the shooting were children. The father of the family is seriously injured in hospital. Three people have been arrested. They had stopped alongside the main road which runs from the capital Nouakchott to the tourist town of Aleg.
The area was about 250 kilometres from the capital, and a popular sightseeing spot. The killings shocked French President Nicolas Sarkozy who said his government was trying to get more information:
“An enquiry has been launched to find out exactly what happened. It’s too early to know the reason behind this atrocious act.”
The Mauritanian authorities are assuming the family was the victim of robbers. Eyewitnesses claim to have seen men armed with semi-automatic assault rifles in saloon cars.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb has been linked to criminal activities in the fomer French colony and other neighbouring countries.