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Mauritanian president denies reports he fled country

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has denied reports that he and his family had fled the country amid ongoing anti-regime protests.

Speaking at a rally in the northern city of Nouadhibou on Tuesday evening, Ould Abdel Aziz described the reports as "baseless lies".

At the rally, the president was flanked by his wife, Mariam Ould Ahmed, according to local media reports.

Ould Abdel Aziz issued his denial amid ongoing opposition protests against a controversial plan to amend Mauritania's constitution.

Read: Mauritanian president says has no plans to scrap term limits

Opposition groups, for their part, have called on the public to boycott a scheduled Aug. 5 referendum on the proposed constitutional changes.

Claiming the boycott calls enjoy scant popular support, Ould Abdel Aziz has accused opposition groups of trying to "drag the country into chaos".

Ould Abdel Aziz seized power in a 2008 military coup. One year later, he won a presidential election the integrity of which has been questioned by his critics.

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