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|170 Fake Somali Talks Delegates Thrown Out|
Nairobi, May 8, 2003 (The Nation) - More than 170 delegates have been expelled from the ongoing Somali peace talks for allegedly using fake documents to register themselves.
Mr. Bethuel Kiplagat, Kenya's Special Envoy to the talks being held in Nairobi, said those ejected had colluded with some members of the technical committees appointed to vet the participants. The negotiations have been going on for the last seven months.
A list of the names of the bogus delegates was yesterday pinned on several notice boards at the Kenya College of Communication, Mbagathi, where the talks are being held.
"Donors have allowed to us to accomondate 361 delegates only, and are not willing to provide funds for the rest. The fake delegates have not been invited."
He said some of the delegates had come from as far as America, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia and Kenya, "for their own reasons."
Their personal effects, including beddings were removed from their rooms after they allegedly ignored an order to leave.
The "fake" delegates yesterday protested at alleged misappropriation of funds by one of the organizers.
Their leaders called on donors to audit accounts of the conference, saying money had been misused.
They held a demonstration at the talks' venue, claiming that some officials of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) were corrupt.
One of their leaders, Mr. Musa Sheikh Omar, threatened that they would start parallel talks in Somalia.
He said: "If these people cannot accept us, we will leave for Somali to hold talks in support of Abdi Qassim Salat Hassan, the president of the Transitional National Government."
He said the delegates were genuine and questioned the motive behind their dismissal.
Mr. Omar claimed they were forcefully evicted from their houses by the police and lost some of their belongings in the process.
They were stranded, he said, because they had no money and asked talks officials to reconsider the decision.
In a similar incident in October last year, some 300 delegates were dismissed after it was discovered they were bogus, prompting the talks to shift to Nairobi from Eldoret.