Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz will be flown abroad for treatment on Sunday after being shot in what the government called an accident, a presidency source said.
Abdel Aziz is seen by Western nations as a key ally in tackling Al Qaeda in the region, but the government said the incident late on Saturday happened when a military patrol opened fire on his convoy accidentally.
Abdel Aziz, who took power in a 2008 coup before winning a 2009 election, was only lightly wounded, the government said.
"The president will be transferred abroad for additional treatment ... This is just a question of time," said the source with the presidency.
Other sources said Abdel Aziz would most likely be flown to former colonial power France.
A medical source told Reuters that Abdel Aziz had been shot in the abdomen and was in stable condition.
"The president was wounded in the abdomen, was operated and stabilised," he said.
Mauritania straddles black and Arab Africa on the West coast of the continent.