Mauritania Table of Contents
Figure 14. Organization of Internal Security Forces, 1987
In 1987 internal security forces consisted of the police and certain paramilitary forces, including the National Guard, the Presidential Guard, and the National Gendarmerie. The urban-based police, which in 1986 numbered 1,000 men, was organized under the director of national security, Captain Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, who reported to the minister of interior, information, and telecommunications (see fig. 14). Locally, each préfet and town mayor had authority over the police in his jurisdiction. The minister exercised command through the governors of the twelve regions (see Local Government , ch. 4).
The police were charged with law enforcement and criminal investigation. In the name of keeping order, police could ban demonstrations and meetings or force them to disperse if order was threatened. They could ban certain persons from certain areas, put them under house arrest, or expel them from the country. The police could also suspend individual liberties if the president declared a state of emergency.
The National Guard, also subordinate to the Ministry of Interior, Telecommunications, and Information, was responsible for maintaining law and order in rural areas, although at times of civil unrest the unit operated in urban areas. In 1987 the National Guard numbered 1,400. The Presidential Guard was a subdivision of the National Guard and was responsible for protecting the president and his home.
Mauritania's National Gendarmerie, or militarized police force, was responsible for enforcing both civilian and military law in rural and urban areas. In 1987 the gendarmerie was divided into six regional companies and numbered 2,500 men. Originally, this force was part of the army, but by 1987 it had become a separate force and had headquarters in Nouakchott. It was responsible to the armed forces chief of staff.
Data as of June 1988