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Mauritanian prison siege ends with hostages freed

Nouakchott: A hostage crisis sparked when death row inmates in Mauritania seized two prison guards ended on Saturday after the captives were freed, security sources said.
The prisoners at Nouakchott’s central penitentiary had kidnapped the wardens on Friday during a violent protest in which several security personnel were injured.
The inmates — including more than a dozen hard-liners sentenced to death or life imprisonment — were protesting against the refusal of the authorities to release those who had completed their jail terms.
A prison source told AFP the group had “accepted a government proposal to release those among them who are entitled to leave and to improve the conditions of detention of others.”
The source said four of the prisoners were being freed in return for the release of the guards.
Ahmed Ould Hindi, chairman of the Bar Council in Nouakchott, who has spoken to the prisoners, said those who had negotiated their release should have left the prison days ago.
The group began a hunger strike several days ago.

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