Month: October 2015 Page 1 of 2

Trafficking in Human Beings, Particularly Women and Children at the Border of Mozambique and South Africa

Jean-Pierre Le ScourBy Jean-Pierre Le Scour, October 2015. Six months’ progress report on the Moçamibique / RSA Border.


As you may know, the control of the 68 kms border between Ressano-Garcia and Mbuzini has been given to the South African Defence Force who this replaced the South African Police Forces. These soldiers are based in Macadamia Camp near Naas (Kwa Maquekeza) where most of the people trafficked from Moçambique pass through the local taxi rank.  It would be easy to control and check this place and block the traffickers and their taxis … but is there a will from the competent authorities to do so?

Ressano-GarciaThrough the Border Post of Ressano-Garcia an average of 800 men, 300 women and 10 children cross illegally every month. What was reported to me, and verified visually, is that women pass very often with very young babies, sometimes only a few months old, and young children who are not their own. Children have been seen running away but they are coerced (forced) into crossing the Border. Since 1 September 2015, new Border crossing regulations allow only the children to cross the Border with both parents and an original birth certificate.

Trafficking or smuggling people has become a business at the Border. On the Moçambican side, you have the “Gatunos” a semi-organised group of youngsters, the “Community Police” with a red arm band, local police and Border Guards. From RSA, the “Matsinyane” taxi operators from Naas, SADF and “Ninjas”. All these people are looking for money. If you do not pay, you are beaten up, robbed and might land up in a police station at Ressano-Garcia or Komatipoort. If you pay your way, you pass without any problem even without travel documents. If the “traveller” resists his little money, possessions and always cell phones are taken away from him by violent means.

The month of September has been marked by an increase in the number of children disappearing, age range between 8 and 14 years. One of them was able to fight off the aggressor but was hit with a broken bottle in the race and received 8 stitches. I have organised a workshop in all the schools about the dangers of living in a small border town and given a course in self-defence to a few volunteers.

Forced repatriation from South Africa to Moçambique continues unabated with an erratic time-table which makes it difficult to organise basic help to these returnees. One of the biggest repatriations was on 15 May 2015 with about 500 persons on board a train. Subsequently, the authorities seem to prefer to use busses. Two or three times a month up to 10 busses cross the Borders without stopping and dump their “human load” at the Border Guards’ barracks where they are being lectured on what will happen to them if they ever try to cross to South Africa again. Then they are told to go … every time at the railway station or at the barracks of the Border Guards it is discovered that a few of these returnees are not Moçambican at all.


Regular meetings are organised at the Border with the “Commisāo Mixta”:  it regroups border guards from both countries, police, immigration, ONG, Catholic Church. This meeting reports on cases of trafficking, border violations, mistreatment of repatriated people and manner of repatriation. At the last meeting at the end of August we were informed of the new Regulations concerning the crossing of minor children (under 18 years of age).

Following my latest reports, good contacts have been established with the CTIPC (Counter Trafficking In Persons Office). A meeting has been set down for 10:30 on the 5 October 2015 at Khanya House to meet with a delegation from the Vatican. Workshops are being conducted in the Nkomazi District as well as in Moçambique.


The sale of human organs from Moçambique to South Africa continues and with the increase of children disappearing, it is a very worrying trend. A few years ago, a Brazilian Sister (Doraci Edinger, 53, a Sister of the Servants of Mary Immaculate) was murdered in Nampula for denouncing that practice. On 8 September 2015, an albino child was sold by his parents in Nampula – cases that surface are only the tip of the iceberg. A friend of mine, who works at Customs, told me that he intercepted, at the Border, a man who was carrying a bottle full of human genitals. Since the economic situation is very precarious and two-thirds of the country are affected by drought, we are likely to see an increase in the trafficking of young children for any purpose but mostly economical. We can as well question the demand for “muti” (remedies) with a component of body parts, mostly from albinos. Government ONG and Churches should be able to embark on a campaign to destroy these false beliefs. If they do it about the rhinoceros horns, they could do it as well in order to save fellow human beings.


Poster campaign for young girls who want out of the system and to warn them about the risk of being trafficked.

– More than 2000 (Africa Unite – say no to xenophobia – Prayer for Peace) tokens have been distributed everywhere: Border post, schools, administration, Parishes. Thanks to Michel Meunier, M.Afr

– Two places of safety continue to work both sides of the Border.

– Parents’ meetings are organised at various schools to ask them to care more for their children, tell them not to accept lifts or sweets from strangers, not to walk to and from school alone.

– The “CommisāoMixta” demands the application of the law in South Africa to punish severely trafficking in human beings and recommends net-working between Moçambique and South Africa between organisations concerned, Churches and Government instances.

– One member of the “CommisāoMixta” repatriates regularly, to their country of origin, girls who have been trafficked and children who have been abducted.

– The “Escola Esperança” in Ressano-Garcia is welcoming underprivileged children, orphans and children with difficulties without distinction of race, creed and gender – Christian and Muslim children learn to live in peace and harmony.

– A place at the Komatipoort Airfield has been identified as a stop-over for truckers. The manager of the land distribution office is in favour. It would be a take-away restaurant with an ablution block where activists could work on the truck drivers. We now wait for financing and personnel through the CTIP.


All these activities are but a drop in the ocean, but the writer takes the greatest encouragement from our leader, Pope Francisco, who puts the plea of the migrants and the trafficked people at the centre of our Pastoral duties, and shows by his action and words how much he cares. And official of IOM has underlined in his own words the urgency of this Pastoral care: “The most hidden aspect of this trade in bodies, regardless of origin or gender or purpose of the trade, is that within these bodies, reside human beings with hopes, dreams emotions and ambitions – and even a sense of justice; justice which so often eludes them with it matters most”. 

Read the translation into Spanish: El infame tráfico de seres humanos entre Mozambique y Sudáfrica

PDF file: Trafficking in Human Beings, Particularly Women and Children at the Border of Mozambique and South Africa

The youth leaving the Catholic Church in Zambia

Jean_Baptiste_TodjroBy Jean-Baptiste Todjiro, former stagiaire in Zambia, currently in Theology in South Africa.

Back to January 2012, the Sector Assembly in Zambia came up with the following questions; “Why the Catholic youth are leaving the Catholic Church? How can we respond to it as a Missionary Society?” Those questions were also discussed among pastoral animators at the Archdiocese of Lusaka. Youths from different parishes were similarly commissioned to reflect about them. Moreover, at the Lusaka South Deanery level, youth animators and youth coordinators were complaining about the dawnfall of the youths at St. Lawrence Parish, Lusaka.

A questionnaire drafted by Fr. Bernhard Udelhoven was shared among the youths. With the exception of Western Deanery, they unfortunately expressed little interest.

To come to a better understanding, I visited three other churches around our Parish so as to compare the behaviour of the youth towards church activities. It transpired that it is an overall problem among all Churches. A pastor once said; “We do a lot to get youths to our Church from all other Churches. But, as for keeping them for good, it is a real challenge and little is done towards that.”

Perception of the problem by different Churches.

I approached some Pastors in the hope of getting in touch with their youths.  However, I was perceived as someone looking for ways to pull youths from them. But some families who were concerned about the future of their youth welcomed the idea. I therefore met the Boys and Girls Brigade from the United Church of Zambia (UCZ), the youth of a Pentecostal Church namely “Issachar Church of Love” and the youth of the Catholic Church.

For many Catholics, the migration to other Churches is perceived like ‘hunting’ from other Churches while other Churches perceive the fact that their youth are leaving as an act of maturity or revolt. For the Pentecostal, the situation is not alarming. For the Boys and Girls Brigade of UCZ, the leaders realized that many young people are dropping or engage themselves in bad behaviours. Few boys and girls go through the full length of their formation program.

Some findings.

A) Ignorance of the Catholic faith: most people who left the Church claimed they lived their Catholic faith in ignorance. For many, the teaching of the Church seemed difficult to understand.

B) Challenge on knowledge of biblical texts: there was no real challenge from other Churches apart from the knowledge of biblical texts.

C) Few programs on faith for the Youth: there are very few programs that can help the youths to discover their faith and how to articulate it.

D) Lack of seriousness towards youth ministry: there is a lack of seriousness towards youth ministry.

E) Inadequate formation: There is inadequate formation during the catechism time to face the different challenges brought up by different Churches.

F) Act of maturity: leaving the Church can be understand as an act of maturity or discovery.

G) Peer Pressure: our youths join other Churches without much understanding of the church they want to go. Better financial support for youth activities in those Churches attract them.

H) Marriages: many youths leave the Catholic Church in search of husbands or wives because they believe most of the ladies or men from our Church are not serious towards each other.

I) Lack of Employment: Some youths leave our Church to join other Churches where they are promised employment.

Our initiations and ongoing formation to Christian life.

Among the reasons that pushed many youths away from the Catholic Church is the ability to express their faith in different forums and encounters. However, we need to take into consideration that all Catholics are affected by this. Nowadays, we live in a mixed society where we share our daily activities with other denominations.

Our catechism classes.

If the Church acknowledges the importance of infant baptism, there is a serious call today to look at what we offer in preparation to receive the first communion. We seem to do better to prepare them for the sacrament of confirmation even though some are confirmed very young without a real understanding of what the Catholic faith is. As a result, many fail to answer simple questions about their faith.

Ongoing formation after catechism classes: is it enough to baptise and to confirm?

Many youths find no follow up after their catechism classes and slowly desert the Catholic Church for other Churches where they feel to be listened to. They are taught how to pray spontaneously. They are taught how to formulate their prayer intentions from deep within themselves whereby their can express their emotions.

Therefore, what do we offer to the youths after baptism and confirmation to help them to deepen their faith? Are they only singing with conviction at Mass or at choir festivals?

There is a cry today from youth to integrate their faith with daily activities and new ventures while coping with social pressure.

Lack of parental support and guidance.

Only a few parents are interested in the formation of their children. The family unit as a place of education is missing. Little is done at home to help them to grow and mature their faith.

– The role of god-parents: they are chosen among the faithful to accompany newly baptised and new catechumen on their life of faith and social life. I wonder how many understand their role and how seriously they take it. Some are not even known by or in contact anymore with the god-child. Some god-parents have a large number of god-children every year. Do they have time to visit them at least once a year?

Lack of care by the authorities: youths seem to be left alone. The care from Church’s authorities seems to be missing which brings a feeling of being considered less important. To this effect, youths are easily asked to cancel their activities, even though planned for months, because of an event at parish level judged to be more important.

– Fear of the parents: meetings are held separately with the youth because of a cultural tradition where they can’t express their views in front of their parents and elders. Consequently, there is little space to integrate youths in decision making process.

Leaving the churches as an act of revolt or an act of maturity.

A visit to a UCZ family offered me an opportunity to see how this family unit lives in harmony despite the fact that the members go to different churches. The husband was a Catholic but joined his wife to pray at the UCZ. Two of their daughters go to different churches. One is Catholic and the other one is a Jehovah Witness. The last three are still praying with the parents at UCZ.

The parents consider the choice of their children as an act of maturity and a constant search for Gods’ call. All children are respected and supported when faced with challenges. The daughter who goes to the Catholic Church wants to join sisterhood. The other daughter became a Jehovah Witnesses because of her marriage.

A former seminarian told me that he was very spiritual when he joined the seminary but could not fit. Today, he is a leader in one of the new Episcopal Pentecost Churches. He believes that Catholic leaders are keeping too much from the faithful. According to him, people should be educate in prayer life and be allowed to express their talents.

How attentive are we towards people’s spiritual growth? Even without any theological studies, can our youths express themselves whether in prayer or in any other activity?

The saddest part of all my encounters was with those who left the Catholic Church as an act of revolt because of personal grudges with a leader or someone in authority. Many youth claim they were not really cared for in time of sickness, funeral and other life events. Sickness constitutes one of the main factors whereby many search for a miracle. Prayers from Pentecostal Pastors where they are promised to be cured and to become healthy are very attractive. A visit to one of our former altar boys shows how deep rooted these Pentecostal prayers are and how people are in despair for them. At Samson’s place, I found him with five of his friends praying passionately for more than an hour. How do we answer this thirst of spirituality of our youth who are nurtured by other Churches?

Many youths today remain at home as they feel out of place or not accepted by their fellow youths because of different events of life such as pregnancy and marriages. Others left the Church because of certain rules related to the age one should be an altar boy or part of ‘holy childhood’.

Our liturgical celebration.

Some who left the Catholic Church complain that our celebrations are boring, repetitive and at times too long. They questioned the interpretation of the biblical text. They feel the interpretation of the bible is too restrictive and that they should be given room to interpret what they feel or understand of the text. 


All along my pastoral experience with the youths, including those who feel out of place, I tried to understand this phenomena. Some youths are simply in search of social activities while others look for adult’s presence, support and care.


  • Visitations to youths during their various activities and those facing serious challenges in their families.
  • To support the growth of spiritual life within families as a way to integrate our pastoral care for the youth.
  • Participation in their spiritual and social activities.
  • Better understanding of the role or duties of god-parents.
  • Reviewing our catechism program and organise ongoing formation about our Catholic faith and the social teaching of the Church.
  • Strengthening the youth groups by allowing them to take an active participation in different activities. Leaders should not be doing things for them, instead they should be doing it with them.

Zambia Are Youths Splitting ChurchesClick here to read also an article published in the Times of Zambia on the same topic.

ZAMBIA: Don’t Solely Depend on Prayers to Respond to Economic Hardships, says Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monze

ZAMBIA: Don’t Solely Depend on Prayers to Respond to Economic Hardships, says Bishop

by CISA-NEWSAFRICA  Lusaka October 27, 2015(CISA)

Bishop Moses Hamungole of Monze copieBishop Moses Hamungole of Monze Catholic Dioceses says Zambians “should not just depend on prayers but must also work hard to respond to the economic hardships the country is facing.”

In an interview after he opened Gwembe parish on October 25, Bishop Hamungole said “no matter how many times Zambians will cry and shout to God for help to improve the country’s economy, their prayers will yield nothing in the absence of hard work.”

“For prayer to yield results, it has to go with action,” Bishop Hamungole told Zambia’s The Post Newspaper.

On October 18, Zambians took part in a national day of prayer seeking divine help for the country’s economic woes following a collapse in global copper prices after an appeal from President Edgar Lungu churches across the southern African nation religious leaders.

He said people should not expect kwacha-the Zambian currency to improve any time soon when they have not done anything to respond to some of the causes of its poor performance.

Bishop Hamungole felt it was unfortunate that the country lacked leaders who are innovative and dedicated to hard work and improvement of people’s welfare.

“God does not help people who just sit without doing anything to change their situation and this is what is currently obtaining on the ground. How do people expect to come out of this mess when we are not producing anything for export? Crying and shouting to God alone is not enough, but hard work and change of attitude,” he said.

Newsletter South Africa No 56 – 26th October, 2015

Newsletter South Africa no 56 titleBy Fr. Michael Meunier, M.Afr

My dear Friends, Greetings! I hope you are well. On 12th to 14th of this month we had another Sector meeting in Merrivale where we discussed especially different points to prepare our Chapter of next year; a Chapter is a special meeting held every six years at our General House in Rome; it can last many weeks. It is there that we evaluate the last six years and plan for the future orientations of our Society of the Missionaries of Africa. The delegates will also elect a new Superior General with his Council of four members. Our actual General team is composed thus: the Superior General is a Ghanaian, and his four assistants are from DR Congo, Mexico, England and Belgium.

One important aspect of our work in the last six years has been to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the anti-slavery campaign led by our founder, Cardinal Lavigerie from 1888 onward.1 One of our confreres, Fr. Jean-Pierre Le Scour, is very active in this line in the area of Malelane and Komatipoort, and as far as in Mozambique. Here is an extract from the report he gave at our last meeting.

“The month of September has been marked by an increase in the number of children disappearing, aged between 8 and 14 years. One of them was able to fight off the aggressor but was hit with a broken bottle in the race and received 8 stitches. I have organised a workshop in all the schools about the dangers of living in a small border town and given a course in self-defence to a few volunteers.

Following my latest reports, good contacts have been established with the CTIP (Counter Trafficking In Persons Office – of the Bishops’ Conference). A meeting has been set for the 5th October at Khanya House – Offices of the Bishops’ Conference in Pretoria) to meet with a delegation from the Vatican. Workshops are being conducted in the Nkomazi District as well as in Mozambique.

Newsletter South Africa no 56 pictureThe sale of human organs from Mozambique to South Africa continues and with the increase of children disappearing, it is a very worrying trend. A few years ago, a Brazilian Sister was murdered in Nampula – Mozambique – for denouncing that practice. On 8th September 2015, an albino child was sold by his parents in Nampula again. The cases that surface are only the tip of the iceberg.” We cannot gauge how far our anti-slavery campaign has produced fruit, but the fact is that Pope Francis is taking a very keen interest in this issue and he already has taken some very decisive actions in this domain; not only within the Church, but also with Governments of many nations where the problem is more acute. And we know that the British Parliament as well as the United Nations are strongly supporting his efforts. At the end of this Mission Month, let us ask the Spirit of God to help us have “A Passion for Jesus and for his People” (theme chosen by Pope Francis for this year’s Mission Month), especially those who suffer the most. Let us pray and act in favour of victims of human trafficking. God bless you all!

See PDF file here

Various announcements of death in Great Britain, Canada, Netherland and in Zambia

On Monday, 26 October 2015, Father Michel Sanou, Superior Delegate in Malawi, informs us of the death of Brother John Murphy. “Dear Brothers, I have just received the sad news of the death of our confrere Br John Murphy from the UK. Br John worked here in Malawi for several years in Likuni and the sector House. He died on Sunday morning at the nursing home in Rutherglen where he had been staying for a number of years. Let’s remember John in our prayers, his family and the community of Rutherglen. May he rest in peace.” Note: Brother John died on the 25th October 2015, in Glasgow, Great Britain at the age of 78 years old of which 56 of missionary life in Malawi and in Great Britain.

Gaetan Bédard_JPEGOn Tuesday, 27 October 2015, Father Gilles Barrette, Provincial of the Americas, informed us of the death of Father Gaétan Bédard, M. Afr. He died on October 27, 2015, in Montreal (Canada), at the age of 91 years of which 65 of missionary life in Zambia and Canada. He has been treasurer of the archdiocese of Kasama before retiring to Canada. A funeral mass will be celebrate on 7th November 2015 in presence of the body and ashes will be buried at a later date. Let us pray for the repose of his soul.

We also recommend the following:

Jo van Kessel, brother of our confrere Henk van Kessel currently in Chipata and cousin of our confrere Toon van Kessel currently in St.Lawrence Parish in Lusaka. Jo van Kessel was a married deacon and very much involved in his church in the Netherland.

We also pray for Wilson Mofia, age 60, who was the uncle of our confrere Felix Kamunenge. The funerals are taking place on Wednesday 28 in Kalasa Mukoso in Samfya.

Finally, we got a message sent by our confrere Francis Kangwa on the 14th October informing us about the death of Bana Chansa, 81 years old, who was the immediate big sister of his mother who passed away last year. Sadly, the day after the death of Bana Chansa, his eldest nephew called Oscar Chuni, son of the daughter of his mums’ sister living in Lusaka West, also passed away.

We entrust all in the hands of the Author of life.

2016 Calendar – En Route for our 150th Anniversary

2016 Calendar South Africa

For more information:

Missionaries of Africa in South Africa.

Handing over of our parishes in Kitwe, Zambia

Nadal Oct 2015 Hand over 01By Jacques Natal, ex-stagiaire in Kawama and Twatasha Parishes.

Handing over is quite common in parishes. It is now the turn of two of them which were under the care of the Missionaries of Africa since 1994 who took themselves over from the SMA Fathers. Those parishes are Twatasha and Kawama in Kitwe.

It has been difficult for some Christians to understand this adjustment. Many felt sad even discouraged or apprehended tough time saying «Ba Diocesan balishupa sana» (meaning: diocesan priests are very tough). This decision was made some time ago between SAP Province and the Diocese of Ndola.

A farewell party was organized in Kawama Parish on 4th and in Twatasha on 10th October 2015. The Christians recalled the dedication of the missionaries of Africa with their apostolic zeal, spiritual depth and social concerns. They were very grateful to them and promised to continue praying for them.

Felix Kamunenge, up to then Parish Priest, mentioned that every separation is painful as there is time for everything (Eccl 3, 1-8); time to come and time to go. “I beg you to understand the event which is happening. We are leaving, others are coming. Even though the formation of the Diocesan Priest is different from the one of Missionaries of Africa, we are all Priests of the same God within the same Church. Therefore love them the way you loved us. Never waste time making comparison. Indeed, it can lead to misunderstanding.  Work with them hand in hand and everything will be fine.”

The final ceremony took place on 11th October 2015 in both parishes. Mass started in Kawama at 8hrs to proceed to Twatasha at 10hrs. As Bishop Alick Banda of Ndola Diocese was in Germany, Fr Chisenga, dean of Kitwe deanery, received the two parishes in the name of the Diocese. The names of the diocesan Priests chosen by the Bishop will be announced later on.

Nadal Oct 2015 Hand over 03Felix Kamunenge is foreseen for studies in the Philippines while Piet Van Heijst and the stagiaire Jacques Natal have already moved to Ndola on Friday 16th to create a new community with Reinhold Bloching.

The ceremony of handing over was also attended by our Delegate Superior Babaine Venerato and Laurence Tukamushaba.

Mafrwestafrica – Lettre du 15 octobre 2015

cropped-mafrwestafrica-02.jpgAujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site :

Dans la rubrique « Actualités » :

« Lettre Laghouat-Ghardaia octobre 2015 » la dernière édition de la lettre diocésaine de ce diocèse, rédigée par notre confrère Mgr Claude Rault (lire la suite) 

« Petit Groupe de Formation à Jérusalem » quelques nouvelles et photos envoyées de Jérusalem, où 10 étudiants se préparent à devenir Missionnaires d’Afrique. (lire la suite)

« Semaine Missionnaire Mondiale » cette année 2015, cette semaine de prière universelle pour la mission se déroule du 11 au 18 octobre (lire la suite)

Dans la rubrique « Témoignages » :

« Familles subsahariennes en Algérie » Un article tiré de la revue « Pax et Concordia » de l’Église d’Algérie, n° 24, 3ème trimestre 2015 (lire la suite)

« Je vous laisse la paix, je vous donne ma paix », une méditation du père Guy Vuillemin, qui a été en mission au Kenya et en France, et se trouve présentement à Marseille (lire la suite)

Dans la rubrique « Dialogue interreligieux » :

« Se former au dialogue interreligieux » : deux propositions faites dans ce domaine. Même si on ne s’inscrit pas, il est intéressant de savoir que ça existe… (lire la suite) 

« Mieux comprendre l’Islam » : tout particulièrement dans sa diversité, qui semble augmenter de plus en plus avec le temps. (lire la suite) 

Dans la rubrique « Justice et Paix » : 

« Migrants, encore et toujours » Le défi de l’afflux de personnes à la recherche d’un asile dans les pays capables de les accueillir est encore loin d’avoir trouvé une solution. (lire la suite)

Dans la rubrique « Vu au sud, vu du sud » :

« Prix Nobel Tunisien » Deux textes, l’un de l’Agence Fides, du Vatican, l’autre du Vicaire général de l’archidiocèse de Tunis (lire la suite) 

« Eglise famille au Burkina Faso », plus particulièrement dans le diocèse de Diébougou, puisque c’est l’évêque de ce diocèse qui s’exprime. (lire la suite)

Merrivale Formation House Blog

Merrivale Blog 2015Dans le souci de se faire proche de vous, la maison de formation de Merrivale vous propose de visiter leur blog 

Merrivale Formation House Media team invites you to follow their blog 

Violent death of the watchman of Sussundenga, Mozambique

Sussundenga MOZThe community of Sussundenga in the Diocese of Chimoio in Mozambique is mourning the violent death of his watchman. At 6:15 on 8th October, I saw a missed call from one of our parishioners who is a medical Doctor. I got surprised and called her back. She was very preoccupied and wanted to know if we were all inside the house. She then told me that we should not get out until the police recommends us to do so. “Your watchman was killed last night in your house”, she concluded. I immediately informed my confreres. Shortly the police called us to come out as they were at the gate. Our watchman was lying down as if he was asleep but with his mouth widely opened. His face shown marks of violence. Joaquim has passed away! Strange enough, nothing was stolen or vandalised, including our cars and motorbikes. Even the personal belongings of the watchman were left behind intact; phones, radio, lamp torch, except his gun.

We are still waiting for the Police and hospital reports. For our security, two policemen kept vigil in our house for one night. Our Joaquim left two wives and many children. His funeral took place yesterday the 9th in the morning.

Pray for us. Boris Yabre, M.Afr

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