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Archive for June 2nd, 2008

Somali leader on official visit to Djibouti

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

The president of the Somali transitional government, Abdallahi Youssouf Ahmed on Sunday arrived in Djibouti.

His arrival in the Djiboutian capital coincides with commencement of the second round of talks between the Somali transitional government and the opposition parties.

The second round of talks, which ends on next 15 June, started by a series of workshops on various themes such as development, the reconstruction, and the conveyance of the humanitarian aid and its access to the needy Somali people.

The members of the delegation from the Alliance for the Liberation of Somali did not attend the talks.

The UN envoy, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah attributed the absence to a short-lived lack of communication and misunderstanding between the UN delegation and that of the opposition leaders.

Meanwhile, a UN Security Council delegation, due in Djibouti on Monday, will separately meet both the Somali delegation the same day to manifest support to the peace initiative.

After Djbouti, the UN delegation will visit Sudan, Chad, Cote dIvoire, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Kibaki overules all leaders in Kenya: No amnesty even as ODM’s Raila and others promise blanket amnesty

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.standard.ke

President Kibaki has now shown the way. He has shown who the boss is by overuling all the leaders,putting the amnesty debate to a stop. Kenyans need to see the law take its course. And yet most ODM leaders led by RaIla, Ruto and others in their pentagon would like to see criminals released, people who murdered peoiple during the post-election violence. Most of those who came out in a killing spree were called to the streets by ODM leadership and that is the reason why ODM leaders feel they owe the detained persons a release because through their acts of killing, the leaders got their positions. API

Kibaki seals amnesty debate

By Alex NdegwaPresident Kibaki appeared to seal the fate of hundreds of post-election violence suspects with the declaration that they will face the law.

While the edict could end debate on an issue that could as well divide his Cabinet down the middle, with anti-amnesty ministers ranged against a pro-amnesty group comprising mostly Rift Valley ODM MPs and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, it is still bound to have far reaching political ramifications in future.

President Kibaki arrives at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, on Sunday, for Madaraka Day celebrations.

Kibaki ordered that those who committed criminal acts during the political crisis earlier this year be punished. He also directed the police to conclude investigation on cases, saying those who engaged in criminal activities will face the full force of the law.

The President announced his stand on the issue for the first time only minutes after Raila had said the Government would find a solution to the problem.

Saying society should not spare those who unleashed mayhem, Kibaki observed: “As a society, we should reject those who incite others to violence. We should not spare them or those who recruit the gangs that cause mayhem.

“Once investigations are complete, those found to be innocent will be released without undue delay. But those who committed murder of innocent citizens, engaged in reckless destruction of property or rape should not expect any mercy.”

He revisited the issue in his off-the-cuff address in Kiswahili.

“Mtu hawezi kuleta fujo na kuchokoza jirani yake halafu aachiliwe hivyo hivyo. Hiyo hatuwezi. Hakuna mtu mwenye akili timamu atapenda hivyo (Nobody should be allowed to harm his or her neighbour and expect to go Scot-free. Nobody can reason that way)” said the President.12,000 in custody

The Head of State was speaking on Sunday at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, where he led the nation in marking the 45th Madaraka Day celebrations.

Those present were First Lady Lucy Kibaki Vice President Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, Prime Minister Mr Raila Odinga, Deputy Prime Minister Mr Musalia Mudavadi, Speaker of the National Assembly Mr Kenneth Marende, Chief Justice Mr Evans Gicheru and other Cabinet ministers.

The President issued the directive a day after Police Commissioner Maj-Gen Hussein Ali said 12,000 cases were reported during the post-election chaos, of which 103 were capital offences involving 137 suspects now in remand.

Another 550 suspects were being sought over 260 other capital offences.

The police boss ruled out release of the suspects saying: “We do not know of any youth. We are talking of criminals.”

Sharp differences have emerged in the Cabinet over the call for blanket amnesty for youths arrested following the violence that rocked the country in January after the December 30 announcement of disputed results of the presidential election.

More than 1,000 people were killed and an additional 350,000 others uprooted from their homes during the two-month mayhem.

On February 28, President Kibaki and Raila signed a power-sharing deal that saw the ODM leader named premier, bringing the violence to an end and hauling the country out of its worst political crisis since Independence.

The controversial call for blanket amnesty for youths arrested during the violence seems to be the biggest issue that could split the Cabinet and threaten the fledgling Grand Coalition Government.

While ODM ministers have demanded the unconditional release of their supporters, their PNU colleagues insist perpetrators of violence should answer for their crimes.Youths or criminals

Raila told a lawyers forum on Thursday that the youths should be released unconditionally “because they committed no crime.”

“Is it a crime to fight for your democratic rights? Is it a crime to stand and say that last years elections were rigged?” posed the Prime Minister.

On the same day, Internal Security minister, Prof George Saitoti, said those linked to the violence should be prosecuted to promote peace and to discourage impunity. He ordered police to speed up investigations and prosecutions of the remaining cases, and particularly those linked to capital and other serious offences.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Ms Martha Karua, has maintained that the law must be allowed to take its course.

The number of youths in custody has been difficult to ascertain, with police saying only 137 were in remand, while some leaders, including Agriculture minister Mr William Ruto saying the figure runs into thousands.

Vice-President Mr Kalonzo Musyoka underscored the importance of national unity.

“This is the time for reconciliation. We should ensure that never again in the history of the country will one Kenyan rise up against another,” the VP said.

Yesterday, the President moved to quell the divisive debate on amnesty and assured that those absolved of any offences would be let free.

“The Grand Coalition Government is in place and working well,” Kibaki said.

Findings of the Commission of inquiry into post-election violence and the Kriegler Commission on the Review of the Electoral process would be implemented to decisively deal with the problem of ethnicity and impunity.

Kibaki toasted to the success of Operation Rudi Nyumbani saying since the Internal Displaced Persons resettlement exercise was launched three weeks ago, more than 178,000 people had returned to their homes.

“There are however over 40,000 Kenyans still living in camps in Nakuru and Eldoret. The resettlement programme is therefore continuing until all those who were forced to flee their homes and farms return to continue with their normal lives,” said the President.

He added: “I am aware that resettlement of the displaced persons is only the first step. As leaders and as communities, we have an obligation to promote peaceful co-existence among Kenyans.”

In his 25-minute address, Kibaki dwelt on another teething problem the spiraling costs of fuel and food prices saying he was aware wananchi felt the burden of high prices of basic commodities and services.

He sketched out a raft of measures lined up by his Government to cushion ordinary Kenyans from the rising cost of living occasioned by the spiraling price of oil in the international market.

To reduce the adverse impact of the high international oil prices on the national economy, the Government would expand the market share of the National Oil Corporation to boost its effectiveness in stabilising fuel prices in the local market.

In addition, it would ensure the Kenya shilling remains stable. Kibaki acknowledged the post-election violence coupled with failed rains in parts of the country had worsened the problem locally.

To deal with the looming food crisis, Kibaki said, the Government would import three million bags of maize in the next two months to supplement local supplies.

As a short-term measure, the Government would also increase funding for the expansion of the Strategic Grain Reserve from four to eight million bags in the next two years.

Cheaper farm inputs, such as low-cost fertiliser supplied by the National Cereals and Produce Board, would help lower the cost of production.

The President also said the first business for the Grand Coalition Government would be to put in place a five-year development plan gleaned out of the PNU, ODM and ODM-Kenya party manifestos.

The Government, he said, was ready for next weeks launch of the five-year plan and Vision 2030 that would serve as a springboard to a 10 per cent economic growth by the year 2012.

The President reaffirmed his commitment to tackling unemployment and ensuring access to education to empower Kenyans.

“We want to build a caring nation which reaches out to those who are weak and disadvantaged,” he said.

On the thorny issue of land reforms, Kibaki said there should be no ambiguity on the security of land rights for landowners and that the sanctity of title deeds, leaseholds and letters of allotment would be respected.

“In this regard those who have leaseholds or letters of allotment that have expired should proceed to renew them in the normal way. There should be no reason for panic,” said the President.

Raila echoed the Presidents sentiments to forge a united Kenya where all Kenyans would have a fair share of the national cake.

“Our countrys population has grown and there are so many mouths to feed. We need to expand the ugali,” Raila said amid wild cheers.

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API

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The protocol now clear as Vice president Kalonzo welcomes the president to address the public on madaraka celebrations

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher; Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.standard.ke

The struggle between the VP Kalonzo and the PM Raila Odinga has now been solved. During the celebrations to mark Kenya’s birthday 45 years ago, the Vice President being the number two man to President Kibaki was the one charged with the responsibility to welcome the President, leaving the PM behind in line.

This is what should have happened long time when the government was formed instead of the pickering the two leaders – the VP and the PM chose to have during the tour of Rift Valley where they were almost going physical on who is next in line to the president. It is only logical that the word “Vice” means assistant or deputy and there should be no other meaning forced into it when it comes to finding out whether a vice president is next to the president or not. API

Pomp and colour as ex-rivals share platform

By Alex Ndegwa
For the first time in more than four decades, the President sat alongside a Prime Minister, a position that was abolished in 1964.

It was a day of pomp and pageantry, but with historic and symbolic undertones as the current political set-up gave the event at Nyayo National Stadium uniqueness.

First Lady Lucy Kibaki, making a public appearance after a long absence, stepped out flamboyantly dressed in a grey and white skirt suit. Prime Minister Raila Odingas wife Ida sat behind the First Lady.

There was no pecking order fiasco at the event as Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, who had risen to invite the President first called upon the Prime Minister to “greet wananchi” before he (Kalonzo) invited the President to address the nation. Raila stretched his greetings into a five-minute speech.

Applause

In his address, Raila said the event was two celebrations rolled into one. “Kenya is 45 years today while the Grand Coalition Government is 45-days-old today,” he said, drawing an applause from the crowd.

Earlier, there was a scuffle involving the Presidents and the Prime Ministers security detail at the entrance into the Stadium.

First Lady Mrs Lucy Kibaki, Mrs Ida Odinga and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, during the celebrations.

The Presidents men blocked the PMs security guards from accessing the VIP area that is usually cordoned off for security concerns. Apparently, the President guards were worried that the buffer zone would become crowded. Only one of Railas security aides was allowed into the area as others were locked out.

The drama unfolded soon after President Kibaki entered the stadium at 11am atop the open ceremonial Land Rover as the patriotic song Kenya Taifa Letu blared through the loud speakers.

An estimated 30,000 crowd waved miniature flags and sang along as a carnival mood engulfed the stadium.

Chuka traditional dancers thrilled the crowd with their breathtaking acrobatic moves. The parastatals staff mass choir sang the popular Wakenya Pamoja, the song that rallied Kenyans to restore peace at the height of the post election violence.

The drama unfolded soon after President Kibaki entered the stadium at 11am atop the open ceremonial Land Rover as the patriotic song Kenya Taifa Letu blared through the loud speakers.

An estimated 30,000 crowd waved miniature flags and sang along as a carnival mood engulfed the stadium.

Chuka traditional dancers thrilled the crowd with their breathtaking acrobatic moves. The parastatals staff mass choir sang the popular Wakenya Pamoja, the song that rallied Kenyans to restore peace at the height of the post election violence.

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API

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Kibaki overules Lands Minister Orengo on land issues – Good move for the Kenyan

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.nation.ke

Now that the President has publicly overuled his own minister who had brought about tough rules into the ministry, this may be a sign that the minister will be moved from that ministy in the next reshuffle. The president may not be willing to entertain a minister who he considers to be singing his own tune on land matters.API

Kibaki relaxes Orengos tough land rules

Story by KENNETH OGOSIA

President Kibaki on Sunday relaxed tough rules on land policy imposed by Lands minister James Orengo on the issue of title deeds, allotment letters and leaseholds.

The President advised people with expired leaseholds or letters of allotment not to panic but to renew them with the Ministry of Lands.

Addressing the 45th Madaraka Day celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium, President Kibaki said the sanctity of title deeds, leaseholds and letters of allotment should be respected.

Land is one of the most important resources that Kenya has. Land rights, which are entrenched in the constitution and laws of the country, are clearly among the most important matters in the lives of all Kenyans, he said.

President Kibaki, however, avoided making direct reference to Mr Orengos radical stance on land issues.

The Head of State said there should be no ambiguity on the security of land rights and the sanctity of any document related to land should be protected in accordance with the laws and regulations governing the administration of land in the country.

In this regard, those who have leaseholds or letters of allotment that have expired should renew them in the normal way and there should be no reason for panic.

“Processing of these documents should always be expedited by relevant government authorities, he said.

He told Kenyans to take it as their personal responsibility to make Kenya a better place for all.

Never again should any Kenyan be displaced from his or her land for whatever reason, he said.

He said the right to live, work and own property in any part of the country should be upheld without use of propaganda and malice, adding that the recurrence of politically motivated violence would not be tolerated and those who recruited gangs to cause mayhem would not be spared.

However, Mr Orengo said any renewal of the documents and ownership of land will depend on the authenticity of the documents.

He said sufficient reason for renewals must be given and if the land or documents were fraudulently acquired, then his ministry will not expedite the process.

Mr Orengo had cancelled all expired leaseholds and said the parcels of land had reverted back to the State.

He also said allocation of public land had been halted. He said even the President must put his request to have any land allocated in writing.

The minister threatened to repossess all land suspected to have been seized by force and promised to deal with any legal matters in court.

Mr Orengo ordered the development and compilation of an inventory of all land owners to determine those with lease certificates and the size of the land.

His radical proposals set off a wave of panic among people without regular documents.

The minister also attracted criticism from fellow politicians who said that there were large chunks of unused land in the country and thus saw no reason why displaced people were being transferred only to Rift Valley.

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API

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Somali president escapes two gun, mortar shell attacks

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

Somali President Abdulahi Yusuf on Sunday survived two insurgent attacks on a convoy escorting him through Maka Almukarama avenue on his way to the airport to fly to Djibouti where a UN-sponsored peace talk is scheduled to begin.

Sources said insurgents fired rocket propelled grenades and open machine gun fire at the presidents convoy leaving five civilians were lightly injured.

“They (insurgents) wanted to prevent the presidents departure to Djibouti by trying to assassinate him but failed” Hussein Mohamoud Hubsired, President Yusufs spokesman told APA.

Presidents convoy was accompanied by Ugandan soldiers and his special body guards, but were joined by Ethiopian soldiers as the attack intensified and lasted for 20 minutes.

Upon reaching the airport, mortar shells were also fired there but no casualties were reported, the source explained.

Islamist insurgents have increased attacks following the killing of one one of their leaders, Aden Hashi Ayro on May 1 and has since been replaced by Abu-Salim, according to their website.

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API

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Heavy gun battle between Ethiopians and insurgents rocks Somali capital

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

At least two people died and more then eight other civilians were injured after a fierce gun battle between Ethiopian soldiers and Islamist rebels rocked three different camps all in south Mogadishu on Saturday afternoon, residents told APA.

Islamist insurgents simultaneously attacked former Digfer Hospital, the Somali National University and Tarebunka junction with rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons while the Ethiopians soldiers responded with heavy weapons, which battle lasting about one hour.

“Heavy cannon landed near my home, a young girl died while her mother was out for shopping after a shell landed in their home, Samiya Nor, a resident in KPP where the incident happened, told APA. She said the girl died instantly when some shrapnel hit her on the head.

After the face-to-face battle stopped, the Ethiopian soldiers stationed in the camps began shelling different other districts including Daynile, KPP and Wardigley, in the south and north of Mogadishu, which led to the injury of at least eight people.

“At this moment, we have admitted eight people, all of them civilians, including children and women,” Dahir Mohamed, deputy director of Medina Hospital, told APA. He added; “all of them sustained shrapnel wounds but only one of them has serious injuries”.

The death toll may increase in the morning because it was night time and all the roads were blocked for security purposes by government soldiers.

Meanwhile, heavy rain drenched temporary camps set up for vulnerable people since last years invasion by the Ethiopians, leading to anxiety amongst the residents, some of whom have started to flee to Mogadishu and Afgoye, some 30kms away. At least six people have died from the flooding, mostly children and old people while in their makeshift huts, the deputy governor of Mogadishu Adulahi Dagah Tur told APA.

Somalia had been plunged in anarchy after the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when warlords used their clan based militias to fall over the dictator then fought each other for power, leading to constant inter-clan war which left thousands killed and millions displaced.

Somalia had been plunged into anarchy after the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when warlords used their clan based militias to fight each other for power, leading to constant inter-clan warfare since then.

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API

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Visiting US parliamentary delegation meet with Egyptian Foreign minister

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

The Egyptian Foreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit met on Saturday with a delegation from the United States House of Representatives headed by Representative Nick Rahal, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

A spokesman of the ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Hossam Zaki said the meeting dealt with a number of important regional issues, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli situation, developments in Sudan and the Horn of Africa plus the situation in Lebanon in the light of the Doha Agreement that led to the election of a Lebanese president, as well as the relaxation the political tension there.

He said the American delegation asked to be informed about the Egyptian point of view towards the situation in Lebanon.

The delegations talks with Abul Gheit also touched on bilateral relations between Egypt and the United States.

The delegations visit to Egypt comes as part of a tour of the region which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.

Three members of the delegation are of Lebanese origin.

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API

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Egyptian, French presidents to meet Monday in Rome

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@gemail.no source.apa

Egyptian President, Hosny Mubarak and his French counterpart meet in the Italian capital, Rome, on Monday on the sidelines of the African leaders visit which officially begins Monday, sources confirmed on Sunday.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Mubarak and Sarkozy will discuss the European initiative for the Mediterranean, as well as the situation in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and the world food crisis.

Aboul Gheit also said that Mubarak will during his visit, meet with the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, FAO director general Jacques Diouf to particularly discuss food security.

They particularly will seek to map out new strategies to ensure food security in the world.

Mubaraks visit to Italy fall within the framework of a high-level conference on food security organized by FAO that will hold from 3 to 5 June.

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API

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Death toll from Ethiopia floods climbs to 30

Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no source.apa

The number of people killed this week in flood in the eastern part of Ethiopia has risen from 25 to 30 including 19 children, sources confirmed on Sunday.

On Thursday at midnight, a flood hit Jijiga town and initially killed 25 people while displacing over 200.

On Sunday however, the Somalia regional state authorities of Ethiopia confirmed that the death toll has reached 30.

The flood which washed away 19 children also killed scores of domestic animals in Jijiga, the regional headquarter town of the Somalia regional state and one of the nine regional states of Ethiopia.

Jijiga, located some 700 km east of Addis Ababa is also home to over 150,000 people.

On Saturday Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Addisu Legesse visited Jijjiga town to sympathise with the victims pledged urgent relief assistance.

Over 161 houses were destroyed by the floods resulting from torrential rains.

Rainy season in Ethiopia starts in June and continues until Mid September.

In the 2006 rainy season, floods killed over 600 people and displaced over 400,000 in the country.

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API

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Posted by African Press International on June 2, 2008

Story by Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

Kabuga is not in Kenya

As far as API is concerned and with the knowledge of events that led toAPI’s first interview with Mr Flicien Kabuga and thereon, API will categorically state that he is not hiding inKenya at this moment and time when this article is being published.

According to the Daily Nation report dated 1.june A senior diplomat involved in the hunt for Kabuga claimed the fugitive was using the newsletter to throw the ICTR off his trail by claiming he is in Europe. The diplomat dismissed Korir as phony.

This is a day dreaming diplomat who thinks he has the monopoly of truth in Mr Flicien Kabuga case. To dismiss a story without knowing what exactly led to the meeting and the interview given by Kabuga to API is total ignorance. Some diplomats tend to think they know everything simply because of the blanket they wear – diplomatic immunityblanket. It is a fact that many diplomats assigned a duty would like to be the one to solve the problem. They feel defeated if others come their way and get answers to what they are trying to solve.

The above mentioned diplomat wants to continue insisting that Mr Kabuga is in Kenya because being a diplomat he enjoysearning money while holidaying in Kenya pretending to look for Kabuga. Anything that may indicate that Mr Kabuga is in Norway, the diplomat must dismiss because he is not interested to leave the beauty ofKenya nature to be in Europe to follow the trail API has disclosed.

Some diplomats are not even having the knowledge to take them around in the modern world. They are appointed by their political leaders because of the support they may have given during elections in their countries. A diplomat may have been a political activist who campaigned hard and when the person the diplomat is campaigning for gets to the leadership, they reward the activist by appointing him or her to a diplomatic post, a post they know nothing about but only to go there and represent his or her country making noise and dismissing others as phonies.

The said diplomat criticizes Kenyas move calling it a hoodwink as quoted by the Daily Nation saying Kenyas move to seize Kabugas property in Nairobi and freeze one of his bank accounts was an attempt to hoodwink the tribunal that the country was co-operating with ICTR to bring Kabuga and his fellow accomplices to book.

Most of the diplomats do not want the problem solved quicker because then their jobs may be short-lived unless they get new assignments.

The diplomat seems to be more interested in punishing Kenya with sanctions having told the Daily Nation, The UN Security Council has force of law, and it could put sanctions on Kenya for not co-operating with the ICTR.

However, it is good to note that there are other diplomats who have better brains and can look beyond their noses. This diplomat, compared with the one quoted above, knows that with the borders between most European countries wide open, there is freedom of movement for the people living in any of the 29 countries under the Schengen agreement. And this is true as the Daily Nation writes, But another diplomat said it was possible that Kabuga may have found his way into Norway using fake travel documents and was exploiting the Schengen Agreement on internal borders among 29 European nations to hide in one of the Nordic countries.

The senior diplomat quoted dismissing the presence of Kabuga in Europe will have to eat his words soon when Kabuga resurface.

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African Press International – API

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