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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:22, February 09, 2007
Somalia introduces new e-passport
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The transitional government of Somalia has launched the first phase of the new e-passport to comply with tougher international immigration rules, officials said Thursday.

The new passport, designed to be computer-readable, is a technological advancement for security matters.

Speaking in Nairobi, General Manager for the Just Solutions passport agency company Stephen Robert said the e-passport, which is accompanied by an E-ID, would protect individual security for its citizens as well as expanding its economy.

"This passport cannot be forged and it is important for all Somalis to apply for this version," Robert told journalists in Nairobi.

Deputy foreign Affairs Minister Hassan Ahmed Jama said the e- passport, which will assist in identifying criminals at border points, would be issued in Somalia and at the internationally backed government's embassies throughout the world.

However, it was not immediately clear exactly how many Somalis could apply as the government controls only parts of Somalia and has fewer than a dozen diplomatic missions outside the country.

He added that old Somali passports, often described as some of the most forged in the world, would be invalid after six months.

The launch of the new passport comes after the newly ensconced government defeated Islamist militants which formerly controlled large parts of central and southern Somalia

Somalia, a Horn of Africa nation of some 10 million, has been wracked by chaos and without a functioning central government since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.

Source: Xinhua

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