The 2003 Mauritanian coup d'état attempt was a violent military coup attempt in Mauritania which took place on 8–9 June 2003. The coup attempt, led by Major Saleh Ould Hanenna who commanded a rebel section of the Army, resulted in two days of heavy fighting in the capital Nouakchott, before rebel soldiers were defeated by troops loyal to the President, Colonel Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya.
Taya subsequently won the 7 November 2003 presidential election with over 67% of the vote, amid opposition claims of electoral fraud; the second place candidate and former head of state (CMSN chairman), Colonel Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, was arrested both immediately before and after the election, and was accused of plotting a coup.
Hanenna initially escaped capture, and announced the formation of a rebel group called the Knights of Change, but was eventually captured in late 2004 and sentenced to life imprisonment (instead of recommended death sentence) along with other alleged plotters in early 2005. Following the 2005 coup d'état, which deposed Taya, Hannena was released in an amnesty declared by the new military junta, the Military Council for Justice and Democracy (CMJD).
- ^ "Mauritania 'foils' coup attempt", BBC News, June 9, 2003.
- ^ "Ould Taya survives coup attempt", IRIN, June 9, 2003.
- ^ Elections in Mauritania, African Elections Database.
- ^ "Top Mauritanian politician held", BBC News, November 9, 2003.
- ^ "Government arrests mastermind behind coup plots", IRIN, October 12, 2004.
- ^ "Coup plotters get life in prison but escape death sentence", IRIN, February 3, 2005.
- ^ "MAURITANIA: Junta declares general amnesty for political prisoners", IRIN, September 5, 2005.