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Wednesday, Apr 23rd, 2014

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Juba in wrong place

By Kenyi A. Spencer, PhD

March 17, 2014 (SSNA) -- Juba is really in the wrong place, geologically and geomorphologically speaking. The person who planted Juba here never looked into what the plate tectonics below us are doing. He never looked closely at the geological maps of the African continent. In the first place, Juba is perched right at the knife-edge of the western part of the East African Great Rift. Talk of the St. Andrean Fault of Africa! The dangers of our African plates are that the Ethiopian Plate is moving southwards, pushing against the heavier African Plate. To the East, the smaller Somalian Plate is moving away from it all. Good enough, the movement of these plates are so slow worrying over them is not a serious matter now, but they are moving. If the move is a smooth slide, worry is not necessary but if the movement turns jerky, then cracks happen and that’s when tumbling of the overburden happens and when this does, the Earth’s Crust begins to fall apart.

Juba is definitely in the wrong place. But before we ponder over the next worry let me ask this nasty question: which of the two came first, the Nile or Jebel Kujur (the Mountain West of Juba)?

If Jebel Kujur, then we have a big problem; the Nile has been constrained between the Jebel and the Gumbo Escarpment to the east. The Nile has been wandering in this narrow enclave in great abandon, depositing and re-depositing silt, sand and flotsam in this area for millions of years, sometimes wending east and then swinging back west again. In the past fifty to one hundred years the Nile had come to the end of its eastward move and is now on the return journey westwards. This is evidenced by the 90˚ crook at Cassafa, near Kator, where the river north of Lologo bends sharply eastwards. The river has been busy around here for so long. This means that most of Juba is built on alluvial deposits of sand, silt and mud. And, we know from the Bible what happens when we build on sand. Buildings as tall as or taller than the UAP Plaza are courting disaster. But this is not our paramount worry now over Juba.

The main worry is this 90˚ angle. This is where the river water is digging and scouring land away at such an alarming rate it may not take long before water is lapping at the steps of the Cathedral at Kator. The scouring is due to the fact that water at the Lologo end is increasing in speed. When last measured in 2006 it was moving at the moderate rate of 1.2 cubic-metres per second. In 2013 it had increased to 2.3 mᵌ/sec. This is in comparison with the speeds of 0.7mᵌ/sec. (2006) and 0.9mᵌ/sec. (2013) on the Gumbo end. The large difference of speeds between the west and the east is a matter for concern. It disturbs the gentle laminar flow of water, causing whirlpools and severe eddy currents on the riverbed and a build-up of a backward hydraulic pressure. As the pressure recedes backwards, it comes against the rapids at Lologo, south of Juba, throwing the water into a U-turn back-lash, thus its impact, and, thus the further scouring at the angled crook. The frequency of whirlpools and rapid eddy currents causes the river to deepen at the Lologo end and on the river floor. The crumbling of the banks at Cassafa and Lologo was made worse by people excavating soil at the spot for bricklaying. This encouraged the river to dig deeper into Lologo and Cassafa. No wonder that end is now devoid of trees while the east end still holds firm its trees. Soon Cassafa, Lologo and Kator will have to be relocated to someplace else. But, what do we have to do to solve the problem once and for all? Halt the Nile’s westward march by constructing a straight channel connecting Lologo to the Gondokoro Island to take the water in a direct path southwards so as to relieve the speed effect at the Cassafa end. But this will need another bridge some metres east of the current one. This is expensive but what a small price to pay as compared to the damage that is looming.

Juba is in the wrong location. If you measure the angle of inclination to the horizontal between the Raids at Lologo and Juba Town, the Nile is elevated 2˚ above the Town. This is equally as hazardous as the effect of the 90˚ angle. And, it gets worse…

Last week, scientists reported that a second ElNino Effect is building up in the tropical belt of the Pacific Ocean, and that the icebergs of the North Pole are thinning. This spells severe warm currents and high cloud content. The last ElNino 15 years ago may look like breakfast if this is to happen. Flooding will be more than everywhere; and, I hope this does not touch our Lake Victoria in the centre of Africa.

Juba is currently at the mercy of a concrete dam at Jinja in Uganda. It is this wall that is holding Lake Victoria back. This wall was built 60 years ago this year. The problem is that at sixty, concrete and man are the same. They become cranky and temperamental; they crack and bend over easily. If this happens Juba will be washed away in the resultant deluge. A new dam may be slated to replace the old one but time is of the essence. All this looming danger is if Jebel Kujur was here first in the history of this continent.

However, if the Nile was here first, then we have a chance. We can quickly begin to shift Juba west of Jebel Kujur. The area between Jebel Kujur and Jebel Bungu might be the only one with firmer ground. Although that is still too close to the Albertine Faultline. One cannot tell when the next heave will happen. It could be in the next a thousand years, or perhaps 500 years, or perhaps tomorrow.

Another problem is that Juba is too close to the volcanic Rejaf Mountain. No one knows exactly what rumbling noises are generating in the bosom of this volcanic heap. Any slight rupture may set the faultline cracking. These are the woes of our small (but growing) city. We need to do something drastic to avoid being caught a sitting duck. I know our major pre-occupation now is insecurity. This is also insecurity at its worst. The disaster it spells is total. This is the third time I am sounding this bell in the past 6 years. I hope someone out there is listening. Otherwise we are waiting for a disaster bigger than any seen on the African continent. I hope this is not a voice of a doomsayer but the factual reality of Juba.

Kenyi A. Spencer is an environmental economist, international trade specialist, and private sector development consultant based in Juba, South Sudan. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The IGAD and the Peace talks in Addis Ababa

By Yien Lam

March 17, 2014 (SSNA) -- To begin with, the proposed IGAD troop’s deployment in South Sudan is one sided case that cannot be accepted by any living creature ever. It is not good and should not be even discuss at all. It is purely a political ploy intended to replace the UPDF in South Sudan that the regime wanted. The IGAD member states should have known that this will in fact hinder the peace process in South Sudan. The organization should not have taken to an account one sided proposal in first place. It’s illogical and must not be taken into consideration. In this matter, it would be better for the organization to be judicious when it comes to dealing with this issue of peace in South Sudan.

This issue is very interesting if not complicating. It is so, because it will raise the question of its neutrality in the peace process. This will in fact complicate its ability to make peace in South Sudan as it initially intended to do. Its summit in the Ethiopia capital Addis Ababa on 13th of this month will be considered as hindrance toward peace. It will also be viewed as the step backward instead, unless IGAD reverses its decision. If I were the IGAD, I would have finished with the issue of the Uganda withdrawal from the land of South Sudanese as well as the case of the remaining four detainees first before doing anything else. This would have been better start for the peace to survive in the country. Leaving these two issues as vague as they have been is a setback for the organization. In addition, the organization should prioritize the issues and deal with them accordingly. Taking up one issue today and tomorrow move to the next without finishing the first one, will otherwise devalue its credibility in the future.

However, Suggesting of bringing troops from the organization, in which some of its member states already have taken side in the conflict cannot and will never do any good in term of peace. This will obstruct if not exacerbate its process. One cannot negotiate with individual whose side has been seen overtly. This would only be seen as the mere tactic of the South Sudan regime giving the fact that it was the only one representing on the 13th summit of the IGAD. For that matter, it will otherwise be seen as the one way road.

As the matter of fact, if the IGAD is serious as it merely seems to be. It should not have its own troops in my view. It does not need it.If the organization needs to have its boot on the ground as proposed by its summit, what would those troops do other than the UN peace keepers that are doing the exceptional job and being revered worldwide with the exception of the kiir’s regime? Would that not be the protection of infrastructures and the oilfield as the South Sudan government wanted or what would be the role of such a troops? In my view without a doubt, it would be the protection of the said infrastructures as well as oilfields? If that is so, as it has been the intention of the South Sudan government, why would the government asked only the protection of infrastructures and oilfields rather than the protection of people? Do you think such a government cares about the lives of its people than keeping itself breathing? Be the judge! To me, I genuinely doubt the legitimacy of such a government as it sound. In this scenario, I always enormously believe that government should always be there to protect its people. But this has not been the case for this government of ours. This government cares more about the protection of resources than human lives. The reason for this is obvious on the minds of many. It is because the regime buys foreign mercenaries in order to help it fight the rebels. It does not care for the people of South Sudan as many may have known it if not most. This has been the case since South Sudan independence in 2011.It has long been the unwavering stance of the regime since then.

Nonetheless, for what I know so far, the government is supposed to be worried about the suffering of its people than infrastructures and oilfields. If it only worries about such a thing than the lives of human beings, that government has fever that needs to be treated.  To be sincere though, I never heard a government of people saying as such ever. It is my first time to hear such a things being said by the government that claimed to be elected by the people of the South Sudan. If this is the case as the regime claimed, why would it only cares for the resources and infrastructures? Believe it or not, this regime is trying everything it can to prevaricate to whomever it can entice in order to gain whatever necessary for its survival. This is its intention. If the careful look is not taken by the IGAD, the peace process will never go forward. It will remain as such as it has been since January. There will never be a changed in term of peace in South Sudan. You may believe it or not, this regime manipulation will tell you the rest of what you may be missed.

Finally, IGAD must be careful and keep its neutrality in this case if it needs to bring peace in South Sudan. Without doing so, it is going to be tough for it to go forward in peace process.  In addition, it needs to take its duty as serious as supposed to be. Otherwise, peace in South Sudan will be in jeopardy.

The author is concerned South Sudanese that can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The December 15 Revolution: A Just Cause

By Deng Bachech

“An author who was afraid to tell the truth about the ugliness of the regime and who tells about its viciousness after the regime had fallen off the throne shall be a dog that barks after the hyena had already gone. So the author should reflect the visions of a nation to the systems that reined at the time and not the government that comes after it falls.”

March 15, 2014 (SSNA) -- Let me briefly stress something important related to this topic. As South Sudanese writers or would-be-writers (commentators or columnists), we are afraid of telling the truth. It’s sometimes understandable to fear because of strange circumstances. But a write with guts wouldn’t fear the consequences of his/her writings if he/she is constructive and objective, regardless.  Naturally, a writer writes what he thinks is morally right and just, and he should mean it. As such, our job is to correct things, and to expose the ugly and praise the beauty of government. Full stop! 

Currently, we are in crisis but there are grounds for this. Anyway, I don’t wish to exaggerate the danger and I don’t wish to underestimate it at the same. If we may recall today the lessons of the war (from 1983 to present), it’s not because we seek retribution for the past, but because we are deeply concerned for the future. The vital interests of all peoples in South Sudan demand that there shall never again be any possibility of violence. We want peace so badly.

The Causes and Consequences of Dictatorship

This country, we called South Sudan, is a highly prosperous country with an immense amount of both tapped and untapped resources, (be they human, physical, or economical); but it is tragically vulnerable to all attacks by an evil regime. This regime mechanically or deliberately creates a society of lame, docile, submissive and acquiescent citizens with no ambitions. Citizens thus become mere onlookers.

For many years, these people have been ripped of their natural potentials such as talents, knowledge and capacities against their hearts, desires and conscience; and ultimately turning them into cogs of regime’s political wheels of an endless vicious cycle. Therefore, the chains of problems in our country are unending.

Briefly, Salva Kiir’s dictatorship is the source of immeasurable calamities and suffering of our people. It breeds violence and incites hatred among diverse ethnic communities. It also encourages police brutally; strengthens state security apparatus to intimidate and kill innocent citizens unlawfully. It’s also blamed for the squandering of immense resources for the regime and its cohorts’ private gains. It utterly suppresses democracy and constitutional orders; adopts more crafty and refined methods of exploitation, deceit, manipulation, and false propagandas; and uses selective arbitrary arrests of specific citizens. It creates a wider miserable social gulf between the elites and ordinary individuals; and neglects, ignores and abuses people of human talents. Most ominously, the regime’s foreign relations with the outside world have become so corrosive and confrontational.

Therefore, things like these are graver threats to our young nation than we can imagine. Politically, the regime really meant business to plan and apply devious means of engagement so as to erode core SPLM party’s principles from within so that any resistance or questioning would be viewed with contempt. As a result, many may enter into party politics with rather hazy ideas and fear about how to solve problems, which disturb them. Hence they became passive and indifferent. Supposedly, before and during Liberation Council or Political Bureau convention, the conducts of business of the party meetings should have been respected such that members would participate and cooperate on equal footing with wider publicity which would make it possible to keep all members constantly informed. This would have looked a bit democratic, open and transparent. Because political discussion or forum is all about exchange of opinions and views as well as of charting a policy that makes fuller accounts of the interests of people and enabling members to fight actively for their interest. Also, even though the party members had seemingly diverse interests, in the discussions they should have applied this cool principle of: “we can disagree without being disagreeable”. But nothing like that in the political world of this Salva Kiir regime.

The Birth of a Revolution

For how long shall we be silent? For how much longer shall we remain onlookers? But can we do it now? These are central questions that we must answer bluntly and critically.

I often hear people say, “It isn’t right time now for revolt”. Yes, you may set an alarm clock of your house-watch on your choosing and convenient time. But time for a revolution isn’t and can’t be set with precision or for conveniences. It’s unpredictable and untimely. When its time arrives, you can’t rewind the clock or delay it. Revolution is a historical phenomenon that, when triggered due to social injustice, it’s difficult to control.  In the light of this, Martin L. King said, “Justice delayed is justice denied”.  Again Lenin once wrote that: “in those days the machine of state was, resting on a volcano, there were great stirrings in the depth of people’s consciousness and the air was becoming charged with electricity which unavoidably had to bust forth in a cleansing thunderstorm”. So it’s now right time. We can’t wait any longer while the regime is perpetuating, and continue to perpetuate, cruel practices, sinking the ship of liberty of the people into the abyss of despair and misery. Enough is enough.

Therefore, the flames of the revolution which, ignited in the Presidential Guards’ Tiger Battalion in Juba, surely enveloped the entire country spreading like wildfire to the remotest areas wasn’t just a mere political squabble between Salva Kiir’s loyal soldiers and Riek Machar’s loyal soldiers. The issue was bigger than that. It signified a profound social and economic upheaval. Yes, power-struggle was one of many key issues that played a great role; but it never would have been the immediate trigger of the revolution. The fundamental issue was a “quest for democratic transformation” of the South Sudan society.

For the last few years, there were a great deal of debates within the SPLM on how to go about effecting a democratic change through peaceful process; but the President and his cliques didn’t allow that. So the unexpected happened ostensibly orchestrated by the President himself. Thus pushing the suspected democratic reformers to the edge—the Revolution. A blessing in disguise, I would say. So now the chapter of dictatorship is closed. The real revolution occurred with all its might and commitment, and still gaining momentum as witnessed throughout the country and around the world.

The road to democratic revolution is now clear, necessary and inevitable for rebuilding of the country. As a result, the date December 15, 2013 will go down in history books as a day of freedom.

However, I am well aware of the scale and complexity of the tasks ahead. That revolution is a historical process. It has no short cut, even if the victory is won in a day, still building a ruined society anew is not easy. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes. Because in the course of revolutionary action, there will always be certain setbacks, temporary retreats and even defeats are possible. Even the gallant freedom fighters and supporters of the revolution are too aware of the costs and benefits. Therefore, we know that, we are in for a tough but promising ride. However, that the quest for freedom, justice and equality are the most important moral ideals of a democratic society worth fighting for.

Moreover, I have not even the least of doubts that the sparks of December 15 incident were not only the flames of violence, but also the rekindling flames of patriotism, loyalty and unity.  This event marked a sharp turn in the history of South Sudan. Our revolutionary success will rest solely on mutual trust, respect and unity of all people, with no exception or exclusion. Unity is a necessity and a cornerstone of our democratic society. Hence our efforts to bring about political change in the country are very promising.  We (the public) have denounced this brutal regime and its atrocious acts and policies. The dictator, Salva Kiir—the perfidious enemy of democracy—will be defeated by a sober political genius with creativity, pragmatism, sensitivity, determination and selfless readiness for attaining a democratic success. 

On top of that, in the meantime, we will reorganize our dear party (SPLM) after the overthrow of the unpopular regime and to bring about a stable, federal political system. This is our prime goal.

Unfortunately, there are few pessimists who often comment on the print and electronic media that a quest for power using  violence is uncalled for; that one ethnic group can’t and couldn’t engage, confront or overthrow an elected government; or can’t fight a government composed of diverse ethnic groups   in the country and that it is suicidal and  impractical.

Well, the concerns and doubts of those pessimists are somehow legitimate. But first, for your info, experience teaches us that there had never been in world history that a tyrant can let-go power through peaceful means. And Salva Kiir is an absolute tyrant. For example, the US, France, and the British had taught their tyrants great lessons, that’s why their countries are democratic to-date.   So in our case, every South Sudanese (who still hears and sees) knew the facts. And even within the SPLM party itself, members (big and small) had   inexhaustibly tried every effort to convince Salva Kiir to reform the party, but to no avail. So what could be the solution while the society was almost decaying and the country was on the verge of collapse? The solution was to pay him with his own coins. I hope, this answers your first concerns.

Second, it is not the majority who can stage protest but a select few whose conscience are aroused and who understand and feel the pangs of the beast’s cruelty, and those who are politically conscious and have the nerves and guts to confront a dictator regime head-on. So “it’s not a big body that fights, but the fight in the big body”. In other words, in war it’s not the numbers that count but it’s the courage of the fighters that count, Therefore, the Nuer had a right to revolt and fight against unjust government with unjust laws; because this unjust regime abused them. And not only that, the Nuer were the first to start and join in a big number the past two rebellions of Any-Anya 2 (I972 & 1983). It’s a history repeating itself because they naturally don’t like injustice and humiliation.

Nonetheless, a regime change against the government isn’t specifically a Nuer issue but for all. Because the success of democracy and its fruits will benefits everyone, every ethnic group.

In addition, the Israeli Jews in 1948 fought hard to get the State of Israel and built it with the efforts of only very few individuals, who had love and loyalty, and the commitment to bring their nation into life. So now what it takes to make a change is not necessarily the efforts of multitude, but the efforts of a few determined individuals.

The Change at the Door

So comrades, save the nation from destruction! This is a wake-up call. South Sudan is a country full of wonders. So it’s the duty, responsibility and obligation of its nationals with sense of belonging to this nation to solve these chronic problems.  The nation is now full of frustrated, hopeless and helpless youth and women. People always live in fear, with broken hearts and spirits.  Let’s fight this evil government with all our might and determination to act against it (injustice) in unison; while united in our hearts and spirits.

Let’s not be discouraged. The fall of Salva Kiir regime is nearing completion.

We are not cursed by God or anything. Don’t develop such degrading psychological thoughts in your minds. We are born optimists. It is this regime that crippled human consciousness; drained and wasted the intellects of the learned young South Sudanese—making them strangers, jobless and criminals in their own God-given land.

I can assure you that, all peoples of South Sudan of all ages and social standings have similar intentions, hopes and aspirations to live in peace and harmony.  Time is now. It was at first a matter of who could daringly carry the torch of freedom-light to brighten the darkness of Tyrant Empire. Those of you who are now in Addis Ababa, Kampala, and Nairobi gave up their privileges and money from your offices in Juba, Bor and Malakal simply because you wanted to help your country. It wasn’t because you’re coward, but fled to neighboring countries for safety reason, and later organize and fight back.

Also the Diaspora, who are disappointed, frustrated and angry because of bad governance and senseless killings of the innocent lives, have devoted the time, energy and knowledge for revolutionary struggle. Their efforts are remarkable and appreciated.

Together, we need this generation to unearth their buried or hidden treasures—skills, knowledge, experiences and abilities—to achieve excellence of their efforts and use all their resources to create a universal, democratic transformation. We can’t leave this burden and passed it on to the next generation. But to accomplish this, it needsour unity to make a change. For examples, the United State of America isn’t famous in the world for nothing but unity of its people. America is now an expert on how to bring and retain “best brains” of people from all over the world. That’s why it’s famous and powerful. But sadly, here is in our country South Sudan, the best minds are labeled as strangers in their own land. And they often flee the land—and consequently, their minds are used in developing other countries. It’s a common knowledge that: “when men are incapable, they conspire against the wise”. This is true of why the country is divided and in ruins. So I must emphasize that, this current mess in the country is (was) a struggle between “the ignorant and the learned”, although this factor has been ignored by most analysts. Put it differently, the ignorant major rules over the learned few.

Conclusion

It is true that South Sudan as nation, in this current situation, has cost many lives and properties unprecedented in history. But it’s the leadership to blame for this. The country is divided, confused lost its mental compass, and obviously heading toward its own destruction. It’s therefore now a right time to rescue the situation but not by retaining a dictator nor the intervention of the foreign agencies but by our own efforts and promises of a regime change.

Already, the December 15, 2013 Incident was the beginning of an end to country’s question. It evolved into a ‘Creeping Revolution”.  So let’s embrace it and choose the road of wisdom and travel in unity to make this revolution as a success. “You will lose direction as long as you doubt”—Dertogada, Yismake Worku. We are fighting a Just War because our Cause is Just.

Knowing that a genuine road to democracy isn’t always straight and smooth but rough, like life itself; there are many challenges ahead of us. Some of you know that our country’s challenges are attributed to regime’s political dishonesty as well as the citizens’ lack of awareness of grave situation.

At this moment, the dictator regime has full engaged in smear and scaring tactics to tarnish the reputation of the revolutionary leaders and to paralyze the activities of the freedom fighters; and also to deceive the public at large of what truly going on in the country. In fact, it devised and applied sinister methods and mechanisms: First, the government-controlled media is fully loaded with historical falsifications and distortions of facts with regards to nation’s affairs.

Second, the regime has engaged in a confrontational diplomacy with and hostile attacks on foreign entities and their diplomats—an attitude which is bizarre and pitiable. This negative attitude towards the West (esp. the US) and the UNMISS is very disappointing, at least to us (citizens). It’s like “biting the hand that feed you” attitude. Third, they constantly spread baseless attacks, propaganda and slander of our revolutionary forces. Fourth, they instigated the fanning of ethnic hatred and killings, and intimidation, blackmailing and harassment of ordinary citizens.  These menacing tools reveal the obvious ------------facts—social and political contradictions—and expose the regime to the world as morally and politically bankrupt.

Therefore, we will overcome those challenges by addressing and remedying country’s social ills, because we have a vision and dream. There is no dream that can’t be made true or a vision to be realized, though it may take time. All it needs is a unity of people and of brains; and good leadership.

Once in power, the pressing national issues will be solved prudently. More importantly, we will establish cordial relations with foreign bodies; and our foreign policy will be consistent in content and in spirit based on the principles of mutual interests and understanding between nations.

With regards to current peace talks in Addis Ababa, the SPLM-in-Opposition’s stand is very clear and their demands are firm. That the differences will be settled tactfully whenever and whenever they occur by peaceful negotiation in a tranquil atmosphere. However, at the moment, we can’t express or guarantee any breakthrough by now given the prevailing attitudes of the regime.

Notwithstanding, the December Revolution’s foundation is rock-solid. And the road to freedom is becoming clearer and wider in every hour. Guided by the principles of pure federal democratic system; protected by the laws of the land and international laws; convinced of unwavering mass support; defended by strong, committed and brave men in uniforms; supported and advanced by men and women of brains;   assisted and motivated by people of goodwill; and led by Dr. Riek Machar Dhurgon, then it’s imperative that victory is near.

Dr. Machar is a professional driver, driving the vehicle of democracy with full gears (not missing a reverse gear) to our destination (destiny). He was and has always been a passionate believer in South Sudan’s independence and who always wanted to utilize his experiences and expertise to change things for the better for average citizens. In all fairness, among other achievements and credits to him, Dr. Machar will enter history as the architect and champion of self-determination for the independence of South Sudan. As a leader, he possesses rare qualities of leadership among in South Sudan politics. He is a political genius and a natural liberal democrat—visionary, creative, dynamic, sensitive, likable and understanding; and above all, a man of common sense and brilliance of intellect.

For this reason, our revolution is in a safe hand and on the right track.

A month ago when I was in Malakal town, I keenly observed striking military maneuvers and formations of freedom fighters displaying courageous and daring acts of pride and invincibility which was magnified with battle songs. I felt emotionally moved and electrified by their valor, simplicity, endurance and commitment. I solemnly saluted my comrades-in-struggle and we chatted much more, with closing phrases: “This is a Revolution. No turning back. Only way forward. Only one option: No onlookers, Free Riders or Neutral—either you are with the Revolution or against it. No other way round. Victory is certain!”

The author temporarily lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is reachable at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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