The leader of Mauritania's coup said the democratically elected president he deposed would not be freed because of "security concerns," a London-based Arabic newspaper reported Saturday. Ousted President Sidi Cheikh Ould Abdallahi, overthrown Wednesday, is in good health, Gen. Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was quoted as saying by the Saudi-funded newspaper Asharq Awsat.
"Currently, we are not going to release the ousted president because of security concerns," Aziz was quoted as saying. "The former president is with us, in good health."
Aziz promised elections would be held.
Arab League assistant secretary-general Ahmed bin Heli met Aziz in Nouakchott Saturday and said he was reassured the country would remain stable and its recent democratic gains would not be lost. Cited by the AP, Heli said Abdallahi was being "well-treated."
"We got guarantees that the parliament, the democratic institutions, the political parties and freedom will continue to exist," Heli told reporters after one and a half hours of talks. "The democratic process will not be interrupted or disturbed," Heli said. "We leave reassured about the situation in the country, its stability and security."