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Archive for September 22nd, 2008

Raila’s party ODM threatened into splitting due to controversial actions taken by the government

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

ODM: Mau controversy threatens to split leaders

<Raila and mrs Kones during the later’s campaign

By Standard Team The Orange Democratic Movement had a taste of things to come when an MP openly defied party leader Raila Odinga to campaign for a candidate from a different party for the Sotik by-election.

Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto at the weekend campaigned for a United Democratic Movement (UDM) candidate. This pits the PM against UDM an ODM affiliate party co-founded by Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and former Cherangany MP Kipruto arap Kirwa. Accompanied by former MPs Samuel Moroto, Nehemiah Chebelyon and John Koech, Ruto campaigned for UMDs Alexander Sitienei in several towns in Sotik, where Raila is backing ODMs Joyce Laboso.

At one stage, Ruto campaigned in Soinet barely two kilometres from where Raila was addressing a gathering.

Ruto appeared to be angered by the controversial Mau Forest issue where the Government plans to relocate thousands to conserve the vital water tower.

An aerial view of the expansive Mau Forest PHOTO: FILE

“Some leaders are playing politics yet the issue is so grave. People should not be removed without being given alternative land,” Ruto said.

However, Raila sought to allay fears over the Mau, pledging to seek financial support from donor agencies to compensate and resettle 15,000 families encroaching on the forest.

“We shall seek assistance from donors to enable us as a government resettle genuine squatters who will be removed from the forest,” Raila said.

Speaking in campaign rallies at Goregore, Sotik, Chebilat and Chebirbelek trading centres in Sotik on Sunday, Raila said: “I have come here today to set the record straight on the Mau Forest issue. So much falsehood has been peddled around by people with an interest in Mau.”

He said the return of the families to their farms in Mau Forest last year was politically motivated.

Raila said the Government allowed them to return to the farms for political expediency, as the country was gearing up for a General Election.

“After the bungled eviction witnessed in 2005, the residents were directed towards the end of last year to return to their farms since it was an electioneering year so they could vote in a particular way,” he said.

But Baringo North MP William Cheptumo said the Mau issue would not die soon and would only be determined on how the intended eviction will be carried out.

Cheptumo, who is the Constitutional Affairs Assistant minister, said Mau Forest evictees want to be resettled fairly and in a humane way.

“Nobody is against conservation of forests, but the issue of human lives is so critical and people must be concerned,” Cheptumo said.

Indeed, the Mau issue seems to be a critical issue in the coming by-elections in Sotik and Bomet constituencies.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny say the candidates for the seats have been forced to promise the electorate that they will work with the other MPs who are championing against eviction from Mau.

“In order to survive, the candidates are aligning themselves to MPs who are against the planned government eviction,” Kutuny said.

He, however, said the electorate would still vote for ODM candidates, although the PM has said those allocated land must be evicted.

Kutuny said although people are angered by Railas stand on the issue, they would vote in ODM because MPs from South and North Rift have been vocal defending the people.

Kutuny said if the MPs from the region were in a different party, Raila would not have the sway on how the people vote.

“Although the people are not happy about the PMs stand, they still stay in the party knowing that their legislators are defending them,” Kutuny said.

He added: “It should be clear that it is not because Raila is urging them to vote for ODM that they will vote for the party, it is because Rift Valley ODM legislators are fighting for them.”

Elsewhere, Forest and Wildlife Minister Noah Wekesa has told communities living in the Mau Forest region not to expect special treatment from the Government.

He said the Government would follow the law when evicting illegal encroachers and settlers of the forests.

Wekesa said the Mau Forest community would be treated like those living in the other four water towers in the country.

Kenya has five water towers, namely Mt Kenya Forest, the Aberdares, Mt Elgon Forest, Cherangani Hills and the Mau Forest.

The minister wondered why the residents of Mau were crying foul yet the Government would treat them the same way as those living in the other water towers.

He said the Government was not just targeting the encroachers of the Mau Forest, but also those in the other water towers.

“Why is the Mau Forest community crying foul yet they know the danger they pose to the environment, which is a potential water catchment area that serves the Great Lakes Region?” posed Wekesa.

He added: “These people are not special. We will treat them the same way as those living in the Mount Kenya, Elgon, Cherangani Hills and the Aberdares.”




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Karua will not be cowed by any politician. She is going for the highest seat in the land – The presidency

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

Uhuru tells leaders to apologise

Narc Kenya chairperson Martha Karua, secretary-general Asman Kamama (right) and former Juja MP William Kabogo chat during a rally in Thika on Sunday. Ms Karua said her intention to vie for the presidency in 2012 would not interfere with her ministerial duties. Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE


Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and four MPs from Central Province want leaders who claimed that last years presidential elections were rigged at the KICC to apologise to the country.

Those behind the allegation, which led to the killing of at least 1,200 people and displacement of thousands of others, owe Kenyans an apology, they said.

The leaders, who included Cabinet minister Esther Murugi, said the Kriegler report did not show any evidence of rigging at KICC as alleged by some politicians.

Innocent blood

Why were people killed and their property destroyed? Those behind the false claims which caused the shedding of innocent blood have to answer this question before Kenyans and God, said Mr Kenyatta at Kangari in Muranga South.

He said it was unfortunate that people calling themselves leaders lied to the world that the election was stolen. These leaders should accept liability for the pain and loss the country suffered as a result of these irresponsible claims, he charged.

The Kriegler team dismissed allegations that the rigging of the presidential results took place at KICC where the Electoral Commission had its tally centre.

Mr Kenyattas sentiments were echoed by PNU MPs, Ms Murugi, Mr Jamlek Kamau (Kigumo) and Mr Elias Mbau (Maragua) who said those behind the rigging claims should be held accountable.

Mr Kamau had kicked off the debate when he said the ODM leadership should be called to account for the post-election violence following the Kriegler Commissions verdict which ruled out any deliberate rigging of the presidential poll.

At the same time, ODM was Sunday asked to accept the Kriegler report.

PNU supported the findings and recommendations of the commission saying their rivals, despite being the principal complainant, failed to make any case in support of their rigging allegations.

Said the statement: Kibaki won fairly. The findings are that all the allegations by ODM that the election was stolen by PNU, particularly at KICC, are baseless and cannot be substantiated.

PNU maintained that President Kibaki was the victim as per findings by the Kriegler team.

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Martha Karua took her campaign for the 2012 presidency to Mr Kenyattas turf and declared she would soldier on despite criticism by MPs from the region.

I will continue marching on as my vehicle has no reverse gear, she declared at Thika municipal stadium.

None of the MPs from Thika and Gatundu districts attended.



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Njoroge Mungai disputes Lee Njiru’s statements on the suffering endured by the late President Jomo Kenyatta

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

Kenyatta death claims disputed

Dr Njoroge Mungai. Photo/JOSEPH KANYI


A former Cabinet minister Sunday disputed that the founding President Jomo Kenyatta died of neglect.

Dr Njoroge Mungai, who had doubled up as Mzee Kenyattas personal physician, maintained that the former president died of old age.

He denied claims by former head of the Presidential Press Service Lee Njiru that Mzee was abandoned and neglected by his top aides and advisers who were jostling for power and property.

Not sickly

Dr Mungai says Mzee was not sickly and was admitted to hospital only when he suffered from gout, because of his love for nyama choma (roast meat) and wine, but for a few days.

Mr Njiru had also claimed that the founding president had been more in the company of wolves and hyenas than he was in the company of his loving family.
But Dr Mungai describes this as rubbish. He says the Kenyatta family and his aides were always with him even on August 22, 1978, after he attended a public rally at Msambweni in Coast Province. That was the day he died.

On that day, Dr Mungai said he was on call in Nairobi, and was informed of the death by another physician, Dr Eric Mngola, at 3am.

The former minister disclosed that during Mzees 15 years at the helm, he did not have a history of heart problems or swelling of the feet.

Mzee Kenyattas health was a closely guarded state secret and was never discussed in public. In fact the then Attorney General, Mr Charles Njonjo, had announced that it was treasonable to talk about Mzees death!

Hidden agenda

On Sunday, an angry Dr Mungai, who served as a minister from 1963-1974, and from 1979-1991, accused Mr Njiru of a hidden agenda saying it was un-African to malign the dead.

However, he disclosed that as a matter of precaution, his team had liaised with the Nairobi Hospital management to have the North Wing built for dignitaries, like the president, whenever they fell ill.

Dr Mungai showed the Nation several correspondences to confirm that the former Head of State had round the clock medical service.

One of the confidential reports shows that a team of physicians and surgeons had flown into the country from United Kingdom and Canada, a month before Mzee Kenyattas demise, to team up with their local colleagues to carry out a full medical examination on the Head of State.



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Angry black woman tells Obama off! Many black and hispanic Americans do not want Obama for president

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

Race may cost Obama election, poll shows

A woman reacts as she meets Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) during a rally at the University of Miami, Coral Gables. Photo/REUTERS


Washington, Sunday – Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbour negative views toward blacks many calling them lazy, violent, responsible for their own troubles.

The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 about two and one-half percentage points.

Certainly, Republican John McCain has his own obstacles: Hes an ally of an unpopular president and would be the nations oldest first-term president.

But Mr Obama faces this: 40 per cent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.

One negative adjective

More than a third of all white Democrats and independents voters Mr Obama cant win the White House without agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey, and they are significantly less likely to vote for Mr Obama than those who dont have such views.

Such numbers are a harsh dose of reality in a campaign for the history books.

Obama, the first black candidate with a serious shot at the presidency, accepted the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.s I Have a Dream speech, a seminal moment for a nation that enshrined slavery in its Constitution.

There are a lot fewer bigots than there were 50 years ago, but that doesnt mean theres only a few bigots, said Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman who helped analyze the exhaustive survey.

The pollsters set out to determine why Mr Obama is locked in a close race with Mr McCain even as the political landscape seems to favour Democrats.

President Bushs unpopularity, the Iraq war and a national sense of economic hard times cut against GOP candidates, as does that fact that Democratic voters outnumber Republicans.

The findings suggest that Mr Obamas problem is close to home among his fellow Democrats, particularly non-Hispanic white voters.

Just seven in 10 people who call themselves Democrats support Mr Obama, compared to the 85 per cent of self-identified Republicans who back McCain.

Meanwhilwe, Mr Obama has accused Mr McCain of wanting to gamble with the retirement savings and health care of Americans by subjecting them to the uncertainty of open markets.

As the government prepared another costly bailout of the reeling US financial system, Obama said McCains support for privatizing Social Security and opening up the health care system to market forces would put Americans at financial risk.

He attacked McCain for supporting some degree of privatization of Social Security retirement funds, a proposal President George W. Bush made a centerpiece of his 2004 White House campaign but was unable to push through Congress.



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A no-nonsense Kenyan Justice minister Madam Karua wants the presidency in 2012

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

Karua tells off critics

Written By:Daniel Waitere

Justice minister Martha Karua has again told off her critics over her bid to vie for president come 2012.

Karua insists that her announcement to go for the top job is meant to attract Kenyans attention to judge her performance as a minister to ascertain whether or not she qualifies to lead the country.

Justice Martha Karua unrelentless bid to vie for presidency in 2012 has not gone down well with some of her colleagues who have accused her of premature campaigns.

But Karua is no doubt unperturbed by the criticisms flying her way.

“When we start the actual campaigns they will feel the heat”, she said.

The Minister told off those opposing her bid to spare their energy, promising a bruising battle once the campaign period kicks off.

Speaking in Nakuru on Sunday, Karua also took time to popularize her party Narc Kenya and urged the supporters to embark on a vigorous membership recruitment drive.

The recruitmentexercise will lead to grassroots elections ahead of the scheduled November 15 National Delegates Conference (NDC) at the KICC.

She said she will be seeking the party’s nod as the party chair.



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Ethiopia, Sudan and UNHCR agree to repatriate over 10,000 Sudanese refugees

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

Ethiopia, Sudan and the United Nations High Commission for Refugee(UNCHR) agreed on Friday to repatriate 12, 000 Sudanese refugees from Ethiopia.

The Tripartite Commission on the voluntary repatriation of Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia projected a repatriation figure of 12,000 for the year 2009 – a number close to half of the 26,492 refugees currently in Ethiopia, UNHCR told APA.

Most of the Sudanese refugees will go from Fugnido camp in Gambella in northern Ethiopia which is accommodating 21,690 refugees.

UNHCR said that a further 2,000 are expected to return to Upper Nile and other Sudanese states during late 2008 if conditions allow.

Composed of officials of the governments of Ethiopia and Sudan and representatives of UNHCR, the Commission was established by the Tripartite Agreement, and the three sides had signed in February 2006 which paved the way for tens of thousands of refugees to be repatriated in a safe and dignified manner.

The Commission expressed concern on the accessibility problems that afflict the repatriation operation, particularly the collapse of the Pagak bridge in Gambella Regional State of Ethiopia and inaccessibility of a 17km of the Kuorgen-Pagak road.

It also recommended the option of airlift for those going to otherwise inaccessible destinations in Southern Sudan such as Akobo and Pochalla.

The communiqu commended the people and government of Ethiopia for providing refuge to more than 90,000 Sudanese refugees for more than 20 years and noted that the areas adversely affected by decades of refugees presence need to be rehabilitated.

The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) on 9 January 2005 represented a major turning point in the history of Sudan as it ended more than two decades of civil war, UNHCR said.

UNHCR launched the voluntary repatriation operation of some half a million Sudanese refugees in some seven neighbouring countries the same year as the CPA was signed.

To date, more than 290,000 have returned home from all countries both with UNHCR support and on their own.

The repatriation from Ethiopia was launched in March 2006 and, to date; more than 35,000 of the refugees were able to return home in a safe and dignified manner.

As a result of these successful home-ward movements, three of the five camps in Ethiopia namely, Yarenja, Bonga and Dimma were closed in 2007 and 2008. Fugnido in Gambella and Sherkole in Benishangul-Gumuz today shelter 26,492 refugees.

UNHCR has been present in South Sudan since October 2004 and has opened 13 offices, three of which have been closed after concluding the repatriation of Sudanese refugees from the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).



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Congolese leader resolved to find “peace at any cost” in eastern DRC

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

President Joseph Kabila reasserted Thursday in Goma, his determination to “find peace” at “any cost” in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where he arrived Tuesday for his second stay to North Kivu, in less than one week.

The Congolese head of state, who was speaking during a press conference after his visit, recalled that the peace accords which were signed on January 23 this year, remained the only framework for dialogue towards peace.

Believing that all the signatories “must respect word for word these agreements,” Kabila urged the dissident General Laurent Nkundas National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) to “return to the process” because, he said, “there is no other way “to restore peace in the countrys eastern province.

After intensive consultations on the ground for the return of peace, the Congolese President felt that there was no more reason to continue to “make people suffer.”

The government and international facilitation approved Wednesday during these consultations, a UN Mission in DRC (MONUC)-backed plan.

The plan includes two stages concerning the consolidation of the ceasefire and disengagement of forces expected to withdraw in a bid to restore the authority of the state.

The document stipulates that the forces and armed groups involved in the conflict should step back and leave a demilitarized zone, where MONUC and the police would be deployed to contribute to the restoration of the state before increasing troops in the centre.

The spokesperson of CNDPs political bureau, Bertrand Bisimwa, who spoke at the MONUC-sponsored Radio Okapi, said his movement was “currently studying” the draft plan of disengagement to make some amendments.

Rebel troops and government forces have been fighting in eastern DRC since August 28.

President Kabila returned to Kinshasa on Thursday night, while reliable sources in the east said it was calm in the day.



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United Nations prepares for African development summit in New York

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General Cheick Sidi Diarra, the UN Special Adviser on Africa, on Friday told a press conference that Mondays high-level meeting in New York on African development is expected to be attended by representatives of more than 160 countries, including many world leaders.

He said the meeting should serve to help streamline actions and upgrade priorities towards the New Partnership for Africas Development (NEPAD), the internationally agreed plan to help improve the continents economic performance.

Mr. Diarra warned that Africas economic development still faces enormous obstacles, including violent conflict, internal public mismanagement and, in some cases, a lack of international support.

He added that resolution and leadership is needed to turn existing African and international commitments into results, urging the international community to show greater support. Many countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are lagging in the race to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), such as the halving of extreme poverty, by the target date of 2015.



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UN mission in DRC fights rebel troops of Laurent Nkunda

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

The force of the UN Mission in DR Congo (MONUC) Friday used force, with the help of its combat helicopters, to force the troops of deposed General Laurent Nkunda to withdraw after they attempted to capture the town of Masisi (60km from Goma) in North-Kivu, a MONUC statement said on Saturday.

After several warning shots, MONUC had to fire at the new positions occupied by the military and political movement of Nkunda, the National Congress for Peoples Defense (CNDP), in Kahungole. This forced the rebel troops to retreat, the source said.

MONUC said it intervened after making several calls to them to withdraw from Kahungole following several attacks of the CNDP troops towards Masisi.

“The MONUC force has been on maximum alert in Masisi” since Thursday, after the CNDP announced that it intended to take control of a city of North-Kivu, the source adds.

“We will not let the civil population be massacred by any army,” the special representative of the UN secretary-general in DRC and chief of the U.N. Mission in DRC, Alan Doss, said.

Justifying the MONUC intervention against the CNDP position, Doss, explained that MONUC has the “mandate to protect civilians in danger”.

The skirmishes continued on Friday in North-Kivu between the troops of Nkunda and government forces, MONUC said.

An uncertain calm reigned Saturday in Masisi, an informed source in North-Kivu told APA.

The combat which started since 28 August displaced 100,000 people in North-Kivu, the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.



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Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

The Somali transitional federal government has taken away the licenses of all commercial airlines after their representatives disobeyed the governments order to disregard the threats issued by the Alshahab and to continue using Mogadishu airport, the government said here Friday during a press conference.

“We have taken away the licenses of Jubba Airways; Dallo Airlines African Express Airlines and Galad Airlines,” Mohamoud Sheikh Ali, director of flight department, told reporters during the press conference.

“They disobeyed governments order to land at the international airport and instead they followed the advice of Al-shabaab, the anti-peace group. They will never use again use any of the airports under the transitional federal government,” he added.

The Islamist group, Al-shabaab, warned earlier this week in a statement posted on its web page warning all airlines to stop flights to Mogadishu airport from 16 September, saying that the airport was an instrument of the Ethiopian military occupation of Somali.

“The Al-shabaab movement is warning Somali businessmen that the airport will be officially closed from September 16,” the statement published on the Islamic page said.

“Ethiopia gets revenue from the airport and transport their injured and dead soldiers from the airport while also the African Union soldiers transport their casualties from it,” the statement said.

Somalia had been plunged into anarchy after the overthrow of former President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, when warlords used their clan-based militias to remove Barre only to turn on each other for power, leading to constant inter-clan war which left thousands killed and millions displaced.



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Mozambican leader attends the UN General Assembly session

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza will on Sunday be among several world leaders in New York for an annual meeting of the 63rd United Nations General Assembly.

A Saturday press statement from the Presidents Office says Guebuza will inform the UN gathering over the socio-economic impact caused by soaring food prices on the global market and Mozambiques commitments in the fight against poverty.

“During his stay, the President will participate at a high level meeting which will discuss challenges of meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)”, reads the statement.

The UN General Assembly is one of the five main bodies of the United Nations and the only one where all 192 member states are equally represented.

Its principal powers are confirming the appointment of high-ranking officials in the UN secretariat, choosing the non-permanent members of the Security Council and approving the UN budget.

According to the agenda obtained by APA, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Zimbabwes President Robert Mugabe are among major speakers at the meeting next week.

The latest global crises are also expected to come up during the general debate as well as on the sidelines.

These include Russias war with Georgia, the global financial market crisis, the food price crisis and global warming.



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Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

Darfurs much-needed peacekeeping force will barely be at half-strength by the end of the year, far short of earlier promises, The United Nations announced on Saturday.

Fewer than 13,000-strength forces are to be on the ground in the troubled western Sudanese region by the start of 2009, said Alain le Roy, UNs new Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations.

This compares to the 26,000 troops and police supposed to be deployed under the joint UN and African Union force, UNAMID, and it is still far short of the 80% strength earlier promised by the end of 2008.

“I think 80% sadly has been, as far as I know, a bit optimistic”, Le Roy remarked in his first public statement since assumption of office.

The UN further revealed that some countries which had promised troops, including Thailand and Nepal, had delayed deployments.

Worse still, the Sudanese government has also blocked some aspects of the forces operations, says the world governing body.

The disclosure came as Darfurs rebel groups reported further bombardments allegedly by Sudanese armed forces on their positions across the region.

A UN helicopter also came under fire in recent days, although it was not damaged and managed to return to base safely.

Aid agencies have described the situation as disturbing, with thousands of new civilians leaving their homes amid the fresh onslaught.

More than 200,000 people have died, with two million others forced from their villages since the Sudanese government backed loyal militias to quell a local revolt which started in 2003.

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said he has evidence to try Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, for war crimes including genocide and crimes against humanity.

Earlier this week, the authorities in Paris declared that France would be open to the idea of freezing any ICC action against al Bashir provided specific conditions were met.

Frances ambassador to the UN, Jean-Maurice Ripert, said: We have made it clear that bomb attacks and killings in Darfur would have to cease.

Paris has insistently urged that Khartoum would have to open a full inclusive political dialogue with all groups in Darfur, relations with Sudans neighbor Chad would have to improve, and Khartoum would need to try two indicted war crimes suspects.



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Joint UN-Niger mission visits insecurity-prone Agadez region

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

A joint United Nations and Nigerien government mission started Friday a short visit to the Agadez region, the theatre of insecurity since February 2007 when a rebellion led by the Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) started.

The UN special envoy, Robert Cohler, as well as officials of the United Nations system are part of this mission headed by Niger Defense minister Djidda Hamadou.

On Friday morning, the delegation discussed with the administrative authorities, the elected officials, the military officials and delegates of socio-professional organizations of Agadez, the national radio Voix du Sahel announced.

The UN special envoy expressed the interest his organization gives to the final return of peace in Agadez as well as the return of development activities of its population, the same source said.

Cohler welcomed the security restoration efforts of the Niger authorities in this part of the country, which is under state of alert since August 2007, because of the various attacks by MNJ troops against military interests and mining companies in the area.

The state of alert gives the defense and security forces additional powers in order to fight the insecurity which prevails in Agadez.

It reinforces the protection of military equipment and limits the movement of civilians on the main roads connecting the cities of the region.



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The truth about Obama: His real father rediscovered

Posted by African Press International on September 22, 2008

A father’s charm, absence

Friends recall Barack Obama Sr. as a self-confident, complex dreamer whose promising life ended in tragedy

A young Barack Obama is seen with his father,Barack Obama Sr. A young Barack Obama is seen with his father,Barack Obama Sr. (Courtesy Barack Obama for America)
By Sally Jacobs
Globe Staff / September 21, 2008

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