Two of the suspects are alleged to have links with the Algeria-based group formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which is accused of attacks in North Africa.
 
The GSPC has changed its name to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb after allying itself to mainstream al-Qaeda.
 
The two attacks come as Mauritanian authorities prepare to host the high-profile Lisbon to Dakar Rally that will start January 5 and cross through Morocco and Mauritania en route to Senegal.