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Two Killed in Mauritania’s Anti-Census Protest, Group Says

A second person died from wounds sustained in a protest in Mauritania against the country’s population census, said Wane Abdul Birane, the coordinator of a group that organized the demonstrations.

The deaths happened in the city of Maghama, 570 kilometers (354 miles) south of Nouakchott, the capital, as police attempted to halt yesterday’s protest by black Mauritanians against the census they claim is racist, said Birane, whose Don’t Touch My Nationality movement organized the event. Both people were shot, he said by phone today.

Home Minister Mohamed Ould Boilil confirmed the death of one of the protesters in a statement yesterday that was published by state-owned news agency AMI. The census process, which started in May, will continue, he said, adding that no one is allowed “to disturb the peace of the citizens or interfere with public order.”

Mauritania’s ethnic groups include people of Arab-Berber origin, descendents of former slaves and black Africans who settled in the south of the country near the Senegal river, according to the U.S. State Department’s website.

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