Thieves burgle Blair office in Sierra Leone

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Thieves burgled and removed documents from an office used by former British prime minister Tony Blair in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, the country's communication ministry announced Thursday.

The burglary by "mysterious thieves (...) occurred recently and investigations by the competent authorities are going on," Sierra Leone's Deputy Information and Communication Minister Saidata Sesay told AFP.

According to media reports, one of the stolen documents, classified "top secret", contained details of a 2.5 million dollar (1.9 million euro) donation from "an American millionaire" to promote good governance in the West African state.

The daily newspaper Awareness Times said on its front page Thursday, "We are currently investigating claims that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Offices within the main capital city were supposedly recently broken into by mysterious 'thieves'."

"Documents are alleged to have gone missing."

Blair, who was prime minister between 1997 and 2007, opened an office in Freetown staffed by young British graduates as part of his African Governance Initiative aimed at helping Sierra Leone, Liberia and Rwanda improve their governance and develop the private sector.

Several civil wars in Sierra Leone between 1989 and 2003 have destroyed the country's infrastructure.

© 2010 AFP

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