odaddah.jpgMoktar Ould Daddah, the founding father of Mauritania, died on Oct. 14. Cause of death was not released. He was about 79.
Born into an aristocratic family of Muslim religious leaders, Daddah traveled to Paris to attend college classes. There he met and married the daughter of French President Charles de Gaulle. When he returned to Mauritania as the first citizen with a university degree, Daddah established the Mauritanian Regrouping Party, which won every seat in the National Assembly in popular elections.
Daddah became president of the West African nation once it gained its independence from France in 1960. After prevailing in single-party elections, he worked to achieve unity between the two racial groups of his country, the Moors and the blacks.
Daddah ruled until 1978 when he was ousted from power by a military junta. The rebels imprisoned Daddah for 15 months, but freed him in response to pressure from France. Once released, Daddah went into exile and did not return to his homeland until 2001.