Nouakchott, Mauritania: A tourist vehicle struck a decades-old land mine in Mauritania, killing a Mauritanian guide and seriously wounding two tourists from Qatar, security officials said.

About a dozen tourists from Qatar were travelling in a small convoy outside the village of Bir Mogrein, 1,400km north of the capital, Nouakchott, when the explosion occurred on Tuesday, a senior paramilitary police commander told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The Mauritanian guide was killed instantly, and the two wounded were flown to Nouakchott for treatment aboard a Mauritanian military plane, the official said, declining to be identified because he is not authorised to speak to the press.

Another security official confirmed the incident.

The identity of the Qataris was unknown but one of the vehicles was carrying the son of the Qatari Emir, His Highness Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the official said, adding the tourists were in the north for hunting.

Police officials said the mine was a relic of a decades-old conflict between Mauritania and neighbouring Western Sahara.

Meanwhile, a report quoting the Qatari embassy in Nouakchott said the tourists had returned home on Tuesday evening.

Spanish colonisers left Western Sahara in 1975, and Morocco and Mauritania split it. But war broke out the following year, with Morocco seizing Western Sahara after Mauritania pulled out in 1979.

Mauritanian authorities have destroyed thousands of anti-personnel mines, but civilians still die every year from unexploded ordnance still buried in the earth.