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Violent clashes between police and protesters killed at least three people in Mauritania this week, as demonstrations gripped the country following the re-election of President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, Africanews reported.

On Monday, protests erupted across the northwestern African country after the electoral commission declared Ghazouani the winner of Sunday’s presidential election.

Results showed that Ghazouani secured 56 percent of the vote, while his main opponent and anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid received around 22 percent.

Abeid claimed the results were falsified and called for “peaceful demonstrations and peaceful gatherings.”

But skirmishes between demonstrators and security forces took place in the southern city of Kaedi – Mauritania’s largest city and an opposition stronghold with a large Black majority, according to the Associated Press.

On Tuesday, officials confirmed the fatalities while not identifying the three people killed in Kaedi nor specifying the circumstances behind their deaths. An unspecified number of people were injured during the violence, they added.

The electoral commission dismissed the allegations of fraud. Meanwhile, three international observers said in their preliminary statements that the election took place in a “peaceful and transparent atmosphere.”

Ghazouani campaigned on a pledge to enhance security and boost the economy. He remains a popular figure in the nation, with supporters seeing him as a beacon of stability in a region that has been plagued by military coups and Islamist insurgents.

However, his opponents have accused him of corruption and mismanagement.

Meanwhile, slavery remains an issue in Mauritania, where the economic and political elite made up of Arab and Amazigh groups enslaved Black Mauritanians for centuries.

The country made slavery illegal in 1981 – the last one in the world to do so – but the practice still persists: Around 149,000 people are still enslaved in the nation that has a population of fewer than five million, according to the 2023 Global Slavery Index.

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