As reported by the excellent TMND blog, Mauritania’s Salafist trial drew to an end with a predictable outcome for the the killer trio behind the murders of French tourists back in the December 2007: Chabarnou, Ould Sidina, Ould Haiba.
Interestingly, many Mauritanians smell a rat when the ideologue Almajlisi gets off the hook rather lightly with a 3-year jail sentence. This is not a reassuring sign given that the gentleman in question is the thinking head legitimizing jihadi ideologies while the trio were merely foot soldiers or the desert version of desperados.
These three put on a tough face and lots of bravado till the end ordering Mauritanian reporters in the courtroom to stay away from female French journalists, in fact, the video posted above with a report filed by Aljazeera’s Nouakchott correspondent last week has Sidi Ould Sidina calling everyone around him apostates (Ahl Arridda) in a very disdainful tone so familiar to Hassaniya speakers. Many laughed at the dark humor in the scene very few foreigners picked on..
Another vignette from the same video that didn’t pass unnoticed by Mauritanias: the number of women clad in what my generation called “Ninjas” i.e women wearing niqab, a scene that is as alien in Nouakchott as it is in Paris or Stockholm. Mauritanians women (Moorish and Afro-Mauritanian) never covered their faces throughout Mauritania’s history.
The morality of the story is that while their numbers are still marginal, they are a sign of an alien cultural invasion that introduced Mauritanians to hereto unknown ideologies culminating in violent Jihadism.
As much one dislikes everything these young men stand for, it is hard to rejoice over their fate. They come to embody Mauritania’s government failure at curbing the spread of the various strains of the Islamist virus and its failure to treat them within the accepted human rights standards. they were tortured during their interrogations by the police, their trial was postponed unnecessarily for two years for purely political motives.
On a lighter note, the first casualties of this trial were cell phones: the security was so tight that anyone attending the trial had to leave their cell phone out. Not to be outdone, people started burying their phones outside the court in what became known as the phone cemetery to later retrieve them at the session’s end on every trial day. The only problem is that by the days’s end many could not remember exactly where they buried their phones..
One would hope that this trial’s lesson will not end up like those cell phones under Mauritania’s endless sand oceans.