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KENYA TRAVEL UPDATE - ARCHIVE - 17th Jan 08 - 28th Jan 08

Monday 28th January 2008 9 p.m.


 
Tourist areas: The main tourist areas at the beach resorts and the safari circuit continue to receive international tourist visitors as usual and the current situation is as follows:
 
Mombasa and coast: There are no problems at any of the beach resorts and the roads between Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi, Nyali, Bamburi, Mombasa, Diani, Galu, Msambweni are all open and reported to have no problems. The international airport at Mombasa is operating as normal with both charter flights and daily scheduled services flying in and there is no problem with access to the airport on the roads from the north and south of Mombasa. The ferry at Likoni is operating as normal for tourists travelling to the south coast.
 
Nairobi: The city is calm and all appears now to be back to normal. The airport continues operating as normal and all international hotels are open for business. No problems have been reported in recent days.
 
Safaris: All the national parks and wildlife reserves are operating as normal with most camps and lodges open for business. The roads linking the parks and reserves are all open and conditions are normal with the exception of roads through Naivasha town.

For tourist vehicles travelling by road to the Mara, the road passing Narok town is a stretch of approximately 4 kms and is now being monitored by a permanent security patrol to ensure that there are no problems for tourist vehicles. For the past week tourist vehicles have been driving along this route from Nairobi to the Mara daily without any problem and latest reports indicate that the road is open and that traffic is moving freely.

The route to the Mara is south from Narok and drivers do not need to drive north to Bomet which is within the area recommended as off-limits to tourists. 
 
Areas to be avoided by tourist visitors
 
Naivasha and Nakuru: As reported yesterday, the violent disturbances and clashes between rival groups in and around Naivasha were eventually brought under control by the police and security forces by yesterday afternoon. The roads were opened by police and army so that traffic was able to move in and out of Naivasha today. However tensions in Naivasha and Nakuru remain and the Kenya Tourism Federation recommends that road safaris through Naivasha town and on by road to Lake Nakuru should be suspended for the next few days while we monitor the situation and until we can confirm that peace and calm have been restored once again in the area.

However air safaris may continue to Lake Nakuru National Park using the airstrips in the park. The Warden of Lake Nakuru National Park has confirmed that all is calm within the park and that tourist visitors have not been affected by the clashes beyond Nakuru. Lake Nakuru Park remains secure and safe for visitors with KWS rangers on duty.
 
Western Kenya, areas off-limits for tourists: In addition to Naivasha and Nakuru, the Kenya Tourism Federation continues to recommend that for the time being visitors should avoid the following areas where there have been continuing sporadic incidents of civil unrest; Nyanza Province, Western Province, and the western area of Rift Valley Province including roads to the north of Narok to Bomet, Sotik and Njoro, the areas surrounding Kericho, Molo, Londiani, Nandi Hills and Eldoret.

These places are not normally visited by tourists and members of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators have avoided these areas since the onset of the post-election problems.
 
For visitors to Nairobi it is recommended that the high density housing estates and slums should be avoided, including Eastleigh, Mathare, Huruma and Kibera but tourists have always been advised to keep away from these areas.
 
For visitors to the Coast it is recommended to avoid going into Mombasa “town” at the present time including the areas of Majengo, Tonononka, and Bondeni as some sporadic demonstrations have occurred previously in this area.

Mombasa is an island and not a beach resort and the areas mentioned can be avoided by tourist vehicles transferring from the airport to the beach resorts on the north and south mainland.  

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Sunday 27th January 2008 7 p.m.


 
In the Rift Valley Province the inter-ethnic tensions spread today from Nakuru to the adjacent area surrounding Naivasha, with rival groups of youths fighting each other, blocking the roads in and out of Naivasha town and burning houses in the housing estates, resulting in reports that people had been killed and injured in the clashes.
 
Police and the paramilitary security forces were deployed immediately to Naivasha to bring the situation under control and to re-open the roads. Tourist vehicles which were due to drive from Lake Nakuru to hotels at Lake Naivasha were advised to stay at the safari lodges in Lake Nakuru National Park tonight and to avoid using the road to Naivasha until tomorrow to avoid any problems. The Lake Nakuru Park remains secure and safe for visitors with KWS rangers on duty.
 
The situation will be reviewed in the morning once the security forces have had the opportunity to restore order and calm in the region. In the meantime, it is recommended that tourist vehicles use the main highway to Lake Nakuru and avoid any travel through Naivasha town when moving to and from Nakuru. The town of Nakuru is also to be avoided with all safaris accessing and exiting via the Lanet Gate south of Nakuru town.
 
The situation throughout the rest of the country remains calm and normal and as per the description in yesterday’s update

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Saturday 26th January 2008: Kenya Security Update: 3 p.m.


 
Nairobi, Mombasa and coastal areas, National Parks and wildlife reserves were reported all to be calm today with tourism operating as usual and all roads open with traffic moving as normal. Tourists now in Kenya staying in Nairobi hotels, at the coastal beach resorts and on safari in the country’s parks and reserves have not experienced problems and are continuing with their holidays as usual.
 
In Rift Valley Province yesterday there were serious inter-ethnic clashes between rival communities in the area between the outskirts of Nakuru and on to Molo with sections of the housing estates outside Nakuru town being burnt and at least twenty people in the area reported to have been killed. The police, the paramilitary service and Kenya Army moved into Nakuru yesterday and restored order. A curfew was imposed last night by the government in Nakuru town and its environs and today the town is reported to be quiet with police maintaining a heavy security presence. Police are patrolling the highway north to Eldoret to ensure security for vehicles travelling on this road. However the area beyond Nakuru towards Eldoret has already been off-limits to tourists for the past three weeks on the recommendation of the Kenya Tourism Federation.
 
The Warden of Lake Nakuru National Park has confirmed that all is calm within the park and that tourist visitors have not been affected by the clashes beyond Nakuru. For the time being it is recommended by the Kenya Tourism Federation that visitors should access and exit Lake Nakuru National Park via the Lanet or Nderit gates to avoid driving through Nakuru town, until the situation has returned completely to normal. Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers are on duty within the park to ensure the security of visitors. The KWS Lanet Gate is located about 4 kms before reaching the southern outskirts of Nakuru town and the road up to Lanet is reported to be open to traffic as usual.
 
The Kenya Tourism Federation continues to recommend that for the time being visitors should avoid the following areas:
Nyanza Province, Western Province, and the western area of Rift Valley Province including roads to the north of Narok to Bomet, Sotik and Njoro, the areas surrounding Kericho, Molo, Londiani, Nandi Hills and Eldoret. These places are not normally visited by most tourists and members of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators have avoided these areas since the onset of the post-election problems.
 
For visitors to Nairobi it is recommended that the high density housing estates and slums should be avoided, including Eastleigh, Mathare, Huruma and Kibera but tourists have always been advised to keep away from these areas.
 
For visitors to the Coast it is recommended to avoid going into Mombasa “old town” at the present time as some sporadic demonstrations have occurred previously in this area. Mombasa is an island and not a beach resort and the “old town” area can be avoided by tourist vehicles transferring from the airport to the beach resorts on the north and south mainland.
 
For tourist vehicles travelling to the Mara, the road passing Narok town is a stretch of approximately 4 kms and is now being monitored by a permanent security patrol to ensure that there are no problems for tourist vehicles. For the past week tourist vehicles have been driving along this route from Nairobi to the Mara daily without a problem and it is reported that the road is open and that traffic is moving freely. The route to the Mara is south from Narok and drivers do not need to drive north to Bomet which is within the area recommended as off-limits to tourists.
 
The town of Nakuru should also be avoided but at the present time Lake Nakuru National Park may be visited with access through KWS Lanet Gate, south of Nakuru town.
 
At the coast, there are no problems at any of the beach resorts and the roads between Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi, Nyali, Bamburi, Mombasa, Diani, Galu, Msambweni are all open and reported to have no problems. The international airport at Mombasa is operating as normal with both charter flights and daily scheduled services flying in and there is no problem with access to the airport on the roads from the north and south of Mombasa. The ferry at Likoni is operating as normal for tourists travelling to the south coast.
 
Kofi Annan is continuing his mediation role between the opposing political leadership and has indicated his intention to stay until a political solution is achieved. Today he has travelled to the areas in the western part of Rift Valley Province where the worst incidents have occurred in his quest to help restore peace and calm.
 
During the past 3 weeks it is estimated that there have been over 40,000 international tourists in Kenya and we have received no reports of any visitor being harmed as a result of the post-election unrest. In fact we continue to receive numerous positive comments from visitors including this comment yesterday from Brian Jackman, a well-known British travel writer specialising in African safaris: “Thanks for the reassurances which helped us to stick to our decision not to cancel our visit to Kenya. Thank goodness we came. It was better than ever!”

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Friday 25th January 2008: Security Update: 2 p.m.


 
Nairobi, Mombasa and coastal areas, national parks and wildlife reserves were reported all to be calm today with businesses operating as usual and all roads open with normal traffic. Tourists in Nairobi hotels, the coastal beach resorts and on safari in the country’s parks and reserves continue with their holidays as usual.
 
However in Rift Valley Province there were reports of further serious inter-ethnic clashes between rival communities in the area between the outskirts of Nakuru and on to Molo. The highway north from Nakuru to Eldoret was barricaded by unruly youths earlier this morning. Police and paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) moved in quickly to bring the situation under control and to stop the violence but it was reported that several people from the local communities were killed. The security forces re-opened the highway to Eldoret and are patrolling the road to escort vehicles moving north from Nakuru.
 
The Warden of Lake Nakuru National Park has confirmed that all is calm within the park and that tourist visitors have not been affected by the clashes beyond Nakuru. For the time being it is recommended that visitors enter the Lake Nakuru National Park via Lanet or Nderit gates to avoid driving through Nakuru town until the situation has returned to normal. The Kenya Wildlife Service rangers are on duty within the park to ensure the security of visitors.
 
Kofi Annan is continuing his mediation role and today is expected to meet former President Moi and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai before continuing to mediate in further meetings between the political leadership of Kenya.

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Thursday 24th January 2008: Security Update: 1100 p.m.


 
Nairobi: There were no reports of any demonstrations or public disturbances in Nairobi today and it was a normal working day with everything operating as usual.
The ODM opposition party announced yesterday that there would not be any further demonstrations while the talks between the political leaders were taking place, mediated by Kofi Annan.
 
Mombasa and the coastal areas: all calm and quiet with business as usual in Mombasa town and all roads open as normal. Beach resorts were open and operating as usual.
 
Safaris: There were no problems reported in any of Kenya’s wildlife parks and reserves. All connecting roads were open and safari camps and lodges were operating as usual.
 
As has been the case throughout this month, there were no reports of any problems affecting tourists staying in Nairobi hotels, beach resorts, on safari, or transferring between airports and hotels in Nairobi, Mombasa or Malindi.
 
Western Kenya: In the western area of Kenya which remains off-limits for tourists, there were reports of a clash between rival groups near the town of Molo with one person killed. No tourists are in that area.

Mediation by Kofi Annan: Following the arrival of Kofi Annan in Nairobi to mediate between the opposing political leadership, the first meeting took place today between the President and the Opposition leader. Both appeared together after this important meeting and shook hands in front of a large group of international media reporters. They declared their commitment to peace and asked their supporters to maintain calm as they continue their newly established dialogue in further meetings. Kofi Annan expressed his belief that the first steps have now been taken towards a peaceful solution of the problem and said that both sides had underlined their wish to work together for a just and sustainable peace.

Travel Advisories: Following the lifting of the British Travel Advisory last week, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also revised its travel advice to allow travel to Kenya with the exception of some specific areas in Western parts of Kenya as well as the slums outside Nairobi.

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Wednesday 23rd January 2008: Security Update: 11.00 p.m.


 
Nairobi: The ODM leadership and a large gathering of supporters attended a funeral on Ngong Road outside central Nairobi early this afternoon. Police fired teargas into the gathering, sparking off a furious reaction from many in the crowd. They fought back with police and then set fire to a government building and cars parked outside. The fires were put out and the crowds were dispersed by police. In the slum areas outside Nairobi it was reported that there were some inter-tribal clashes with at least one person reported killed at Kariobangi estate. No tourists were reported to be in the vicinity of this demonstration. The airports in Nairobi operated as normal and all roads were open as usual. All Nairobi hotels were open for business as usual.
 
Mombasa and the coastal areas: all calm and quiet with business as usual in Mombasa town and all roads open as normal. Beach resorts were open and operating as usual.
 
No problems were reported in any of the wildlife parks and reserves, with all tourist routes open for traffic as normal to all the leading parks and reserves including the Mara, Lake Nakuru, Aberdares, Laikipia, Samburu, Meru, Mt Kenya, Amboseli, Tsavo, Shimba Hills and the community wildlife conservancies. Camps and lodges were open for business as usual.
 
Once again there were no reports of any problems affecting tourists staying in Nairobi hotels, beach resorts, on safari, or transferring between airports and hotels.
 
Kofi Annan arrived today and has started his meetings with the political leadership as a mediator between both sides. The ODM leadership announced today that demonstrations planned for tomorrow were being called off to give an opportunity for meetings with Kofi Annan without any disturbance.

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Tuesday 22nd January 2008: Security Update: 6.00 p.m.


 
Today Nairobi was calm and all was operating as normal, apart from an incident this morning when a small crowd gathered in the city centre and attempted to hold a demonstration in support of the President. This was quickly dispersed by the police and all quickly returned to normal. There were no reports of any injuries and no tourists were reported to be in the vicinity of this demonstration. No problems were reported today in the Nairobi slums. The airports operated as normal and all roads were open as usual.
 
Mombasa and the coastal areas: all calm and quiet with business as usual in Mombasa town and all roads open as normal.
 
No problems were reported in any of the wildlife parks and reserves, with all tourist routes open for traffic as normal to all the leading parks and reserves including the Mara, Lake Nakuru, Aberdares, Laikipia, Samburu, Meru, Mt Kenya, Amboseli, Tsavo, Shimba Hills and the community wildlife conservancies.
 
Once again there were no reports of any problems affecting tourists staying in Nairobi hotels, beach resorts, on safari, or transferring between airports and hotels.
 
The scenes of violent demonstrations and confrontations with police which have been frequently screened on international TV networks during the last fortnight have been sporadic and isolated, confined to certain parts of Kenya, and have not occurred across the whole country. They have largely taken place in some of Nairobi’s slums and areas of Western Kenya around Kisumu-Kericho-Eldoret which are not often visited by tourists. These areas are at present off-limits for tourists and have been avoided by tour operators since the onset of the post-election crisis.  The tourist beach resorts and wildlife parks have been unaffected and tourists continue to visit these areas without a problem.
 
The arrival of Kofi Annan is expected today and it is hoped that he will be able to assist as a mediator between both sides in the current political impasse to achieve an early settlement.
 
The British Travel Advisory was amended on Saturday so that it is no longer a blanket “non-essential travel” warning against the whole of Kenya and applies only to specific locations, in line with our own recommendations, and on similar lines to the US and German government advisories.

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Monday 21st January 2008: Security Update: 6.00 p.m.


 
Today all was calm across Nairobi including the central business district and no problems were reported today in the slums. The airports operated as normal and all roads were open as usual.
 
Mombasa and the coastal areas: all calm and quiet with business as usual in Mombasa town and all roads open as normal.
 
No problems were reported in any of the wildlife parks and reserves, with all tourist routes open for traffic as normal.
 
The town of Narok, which is on the route from Nairobi to the Mara, and where there were two days of demonstrations last week, is reported now to be calm with all shops and businesses open today as normal.
 
Once again there were no reports of any problems affecting tourists staying in Nairobi hotels, beach resorts, on safari, or transferring between airports and hotels. This has been the case throughout the whole post-election period.
 
The areas of Western Kenya around Kisumu-Kericho-Eldoret are still off-limits for tourists and there have been reports of continued isolated inter-ethnic clashes in this region. This area has been avoided by tour operators since onset of the post-election crisis and this part of the country is not normally visited by tourists in any case.
 
Kofi Annan is expected to arrive tomorrow and expectations are high that his role as mediator will help both sides to achieve a reconciliation, reflecting the wish of the overwhelming majority of Kenyans whose greatest desire is to see peace and calm restored throughout the country.
 
The British Travel Advisory was amended on Saturday so that it is no longer a blanket “non-essential travel” warning against the whole of Kenya and applies only to specific locations, in line with our own recommendations, and on similar lines to the US and German government advisories. This should result in more visitors being able to travel to Kenya in the weeks ahead.

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Sunday 20th January 2008: Security Update: 10.00 p.m.



Those areas of the country which had previously experienced unrest were reported to be generally calm today but in two of the slum areas of Nairobi, in Mathare and Huruma estates, there were further outbreaks of violence and five people were killed in inter-ethnic fighting, with police attempting to prevent the clashes and eventually restoring order. Police were able to bring the situation under control without using live ammunition.

The city centre of Nairobi and the highways between airports and international hotels were all reported to be open with traffic moving as normal.

There were no reports today of any problems affecting tourists staying in Nairobi hotels, at coastal beach resorts or on safari.

The European Union Commissioner, Mr Louis Michel, is in Kenya to help in seeking a solution to the crisis and held separate meetings with the President and the leader of the opposition. He expressed his confidence that talks would soon result in a political reconciliation. Both sides have appealed to their supporters to avoid violence.

Kofi Annan is expected to arrive on Tuesday to assist in mediation between the opposing political leadership. There were numerous calls by religious leaders at church services today for peace and reconciliation and growing calls for a power-sharing solution to end the current political crisis.

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Saturday 19th January 2008: Security Update: 4.00 p.m.



Following the announcement yesterday by the ODM opposition party that they had called off any further street protests, calm has returned to those areas in Kenya which had experienced demonstrations in the previous three days.

All the tourist resorts and the wildlife parks were unaffected and continued to operate as normal. The routes connecting the parks are also open and all is calm with traffic moving as normal. The route to the Mara which was affected by demonstrations at Narok in the last two days is open and calm and tourist vehicles have driven on this route today with no sign of any problem.

As a result of the ending of the street protests, the British government issued a revised Travel Advisory today, removing the blanket “non-essential travel” advice against visiting Kenya so British visitors coming to Kenya are now covered by their travel insurance.

Over the last two weeks the Kenya Tourism Federation has been consistently advising that the main tourist areas have not experienced problems affecting foreign visitors but that certain places should be considered off-limits for tourists at the present time such as the slums around Nairobi and the Kisumu-Kericho-Eldoret area of Western Kenya. The revised British government travel advice takes the same approach, warning against travel to specific areas of Kenya. These are Western Kenya including Kisumu, and parts of Rift Valley province including Kericho and Eldoret. At the coast the British Travel Advisory indicates that Mombasa town should be avoided.

We can confirm that the areas mentioned in Western Kenya are already being avoided by Kenyan tour operators. In Nairobi the airports and the main highways to the hotels are secure and open so that tourist vehicles are able to transfer between the airports and hotels without a problem.

At the coast, the routes between the airports and the beach resorts are open and secure and have continued to have tourist traffic daily without any problem throughout the last two weeks. Mombasa town is on the island of Mombasa and is not a beach resort but mainly a commercial area with shops and offices. The beach resorts on the mainland north and south of Mombasa including Msambweni, Galu, Diani, Bamburi, Nyali, Shanzu, Kikambala, Kilifi and on to Watamu, Malindi and Lamu are all calm and the highways linking them are all open and secure. Tourists have been staying at the beach resorts throughout the last fortnight without any problems and all have travelled between the airports and their beach hotels without any incidents being reported.

Now that both the USA and the UK have Travel Advisories which allow travel to Kenya, with specific advice to avoid certain areas, we hope that the Travel Advice of other governments will be revised accordingly.

Tourists continue to experience a warm welcome from Kenyans as always and we are receiving very positive comments from the visitors in the country at the moment. It is important for the many thousands of Kenyans who are involved in earning a livelihood from tourism that we continue to receive visitors so that our tourism industry can keep playing an important role contributing to the national economy and creating benefits for the ordinary people of this country. Tourism is also vital if our wildlife parks are to continue conserving some of the world’s last great concentrations of wildlife and endangered species.

Although tourism has continued to operate as usual over the last fortnight, we have experienced a big drop in tourist arrivals since the imposition of travel warnings and the subsequent temporary cessation of charter flights into Mombasa. This has caused a decline in occupancies at all our tourist facilities, threatening the future of the tourism industry, but the removal of the non-essential travel warning by the British is a step in the right direction and will mean that tourist arrivals should now start returning to normal.

This is a great time to be on safari in Kenya or enjoying our Indian Ocean beaches!

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Friday 18th January 2008: Security Update: 7.00 p.m.



Today was the last day of the three days of mass action on the streets called by the ODM opposition party in Kenya and all street protests have now been called off after today.

The latest reports that we have received are as follows:

Mombasa and coast:
Demonstrations started after the Friday prayers and crowds of demonstrators across Mombasa were involved in skirmishes and confrontations with riot police. Tear gas was fired and police shot in the air to disperse the crowds. It was reported that one person had died and five were injured. By late afternoon calm had been restored. No tourists were caught up in the demonstrations as tour operators ensured that the areas where the demonstrations took place were avoided. The airports operated as normal.

Nairobi:
There were some skirmishes in the city centre as crowds were dispersed by the heavy police presence and it was reported that police had arrested a leader of a group attempting to march. Once again the slum areas of Nairobi at Kibera and Mathare were reported to have had violent confrontations between demonstrators and police with shots being fired. Reports have not yet been received of any injuries.

The Nairobi airports at Jomo Kenyatta International and Wilson operated as usual with no disruption to flights. A strong police presence ensured that the highways between the Nairobi hotels and the airports were kept open and the Kibera demonstrators did not move beyond the slum area. There were no reports of tourists being inconvenienced or affected by street demonstrations.

Up-country:
Narok: There were reports of further demonstrations in the town today with crowds of opposition supporters confronting police. At least one person was reported to have been killed in fighting between rival groups.

Kisumu: It was reported that the level of disturbances decreased today.

The ODM leadership announced today that they would call off any further street protests from now on. This means that peace and calm should be restored quickly in the areas where violent demonstrations have been taking place over the last three days and it is expected that things will be back to normal soon. The tourism industry has been operating as usual throughout this period and the Kenya Tourism Federation 24 hour Safety & Communication Centre has been monitoring events throughout to ensure that tour operators are able to avoid any areas where demonstrations occur.

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation


Thursday 17th January 2008: Security Update: 7.00 p.m.



As of now the reports we have received from around the country are as follows:

Mombasa and coast:
There were no reports today of any demonstrations or attempts to stage rallies in Mombasa or the coast area and no reports of any confrontations between protesters and police other than small groups holding placards. All remained calm and all roads were open as normal.

Nairobi:
There were some minor skirmishes in the city centre and the Kilimani area of Narobi when crowds were dispersed by the heavy police presence but with no reports of any injuries. Traffic continued as normal in Nairobi including buses and public commuter minibuses (matatus).

The situation was different in the slum areas of Nairobi at Kibera, Kariobangi and Mathare where there were reports once again today of violent confrontations between demonstrators and police with shots being fired. Reports have not yet been received of any injuries.

The Nairobi airports at Jomo Kenyatta International and Wilson operated as normal with no disruption to flights. A strong police presence ensured that the highways between the Nairobi hotels and the airports were kept open and the Kibera demonstrations were prevented from moving beyond the slum area.

Up-country:
Narok: There were reports of demonstrations in the town and barricades being erected and fires lit by demonstrators confronting police. A number of tourist vehicles drove through Narok and were aware of the gathering protesters but there were no reports of any incidents involving tourists. The Kenya Tourism Federation Safety & Communications Centre is monitoring the situation along the route to Narok to ensure that safari operators are kept informed.

Kisumu: Once again there were violent confrontations between demonstrators and riot police.

Eldoret: in the afternoon a large crowd were involved in a demonstration in the town centre which became violent and was broken up and dispersed by police who fired shots in the air.

Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Tourism Federation

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