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Stranded Africans with World Cup Visa face deportation from Russia.

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In a cramped apartment on the outskirts of Moscow, Lamin has little more than the clothes and the Bible he brought with him when he came to Russia on a temporary World Cup visa last summer.

The 23-year-old Gambian shares the two-bedroom flat with nine other people — the youngest a newborn baby girl, the daughter of a Congolese flatmate.

Like thousands of other Africans, Lamin came to Russia during the 2018 tournament on a “Fan ID” that allowed spectators to bypass the country’s usual visa requirements.



While most came purely to watch the football, others had plans to stay on and find work.

Some believed they could claim asylum in Russia or that the country would be a stepping-stone to life in Europe.

But eight months after the World Cup, their hopes have been dashed and the Russian interior ministry has said it is stepping up measures to deport all over-staying guests by the end of March.

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The former management student was eventually helped by a Liberian immigrant who shared food and offered a space in the apartment.

But during a raid in February, police found the Liberian had no valid documents and he was deported.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do next, I’m totally scared,” said Lamin, who has been given temporary leave to stay until the middle of March.

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With the help of the Civic Assistance Committee, an organisation that works with refugees in Russia, he has put in an application for permanent asylum.

There is little hope, however, of it being granted. Official figures show that in 2017, Russia gave full refugee status to just 33 people.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Gantz refuse’s Netanyahu offer on unity government

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After a vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival.

Israel’s weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw his offer on Thursday for a coalition with his strongest political rival,  Gantz, swiftly rebuffed after failing to secure a governing majority in a tight election.

Netanyahu’s surprise move was an abrupt change of strategy for the right-wing leader. Its rejection could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party emerged from the second round of voting this year slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, but also short of enough supporters in the 120-member parliament for a ruling bloc.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, said in a video clip in which he urged Gantz, the country’s former military chief, to meet him “as soon as today”, that he had pledged during the election campaign to form a right-wing, Likud-led government.

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