Mauritania Military

Mauritania is a country located in the western region of North Africa. It has a population of around 4.5 million people and the official language is Arabic. The majority of the population are Sunni Muslim, with some other religious denominations also present.

The military of Mauritania consists of three branches; Army, Navy and Air Force. The total active personnel in the military are around 18,000 people. The Army has around 15,000 personnel with a focus on ground operations and border protection. It also has a small Navy with two patrol boats for maritime security operations as well as four helicopters for air support operations. The Air Force has around 3,000 personnel operating mainly transport aircraft for reconnaissance missions and logistics purposes.

Mauritania is not a member of any international military or defense organization but does maintain close ties with other countries in the region such as Algeria and Morocco. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Mauritania.


The defense o Mauritania, which is based on general military duty with an initial service of no more than 24 months, comprises (2009) 16,000 men and is organized into 20 battalions, 10 patrol boats and 15 transport aircraft. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that MRT stands for Mauritania. Semi-military security forces amount to 5,000 men. The material is semi-modern and of mixed origin. Political unrest, including a coup d’état in 2005, characterizes the country. Defense spending decreased in 1996-2006 from 6.5% to 5.5% of GDP.

Mauritania Army

Mauritania has a mandatory military service with first-time service of 24 months. The total force figures for Mauritania’s armed forces are 15,850 active personnel (2018, IISS). In addition there are about 5000 semi-military, of which about 3000 in the gendarmerie and 2000 in the national guard.

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The army has a workforce of 15,000 active personnel. Material comprising 35 tanks of types of T-54 and T-55, 70 reconnaissance vehicles, 37 armored personnel carriers, medium heavy artillery, anti-aircraft missiles with a short range and short range air defense artillery.

Air Force

The Air Force has a personnel force of 250 active personnel. Materials include two reconnaissance aircraft, eight transport aircraft, 11 training aircraft (four of which are Super Tucano which can also be used as light attack aircraft), and three helicopters.

The Navy

The Navy has a personnel force of about 600 active personnel, and 17 patrol vessels.

International operations

Mauritania participated in the UN operations in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) in 2018 with 744 personnel and nine observers, in Mali (MINUSMA) with eight personnel, and in Somalia (UNSOS) with an observer.

The colony is administered by a lieutenant-governor who resides in Saint-Louis, and is divided into 8 districts.

Mauritania is above all a farming country: there are 50,000 camels and 290,000 oxen and zebus. There are also 2,400,000 sheep. There are numerous salt deposits, exploited in the sebkha d’Idjil and in the salt flats by the ocean. In Adrar (Atar, Chinguetti) and in Tidjikdia there are some palm groves. The only product that is subject to a relatively important export is rubber (about 3000 tons) supplied by the resin of Acacia verek.

The only port in Mauritania is Port-Étienne, located at the northern end of the coast, in the immediate vicinity of the Río de Oro, in the Bay of the Greyhound, protected by the Cape Blanc peninsula. However, you lack fresh water altogether, which has to be imported to you. Its importance derives from the wealth of fish found in the Bay of the Greyhound and from the plants that, in relation to this wealth, have arisen on land. The Société industrielle de la grande pêche, created in 1919, prepares dried and smoked fish which is exported to the southern colonies (from 700 to 800 tons for a value of 2 to 3 million francs). By-products are also used: guano, oil, glues and fish skins. The whole coast between Nouakchott and the White Cape has a great ichthyological wealth, especially near the Arguin bank. Every year Breton fishermen go there to fish for green lobster or king lobster.

The trade (dried fish, rubber, dates) takes place in certain places established on the Senegal River; exchanges can be valued at around 35 million. Although the limited partnerships for sheep cattle and fishmongers have the possibility of a certain development, Mauritania has little economic interest: it is above all an advanced defense, intended to protect the colony of Senegal against the raids of the northern raiders.