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SA play down terror alert

Johannesburg: Ali Bacher and the Pretoria government Friday played down an Australian warning to travellers that terrorists might strike in South Africa, a month ahead of the World Cup.

Bacher, executive director of the 2003 ICC World Cup, told the Johannesburg-based daily The Star he had met police chiefs and been assured the event, like the UN Earth Summit last year, would be without major incident.

“I am in constant contact with the government and its intelligence agencies and they have... assured me that this country will be able to put together a global event that is safe and secure,” he told the paper.

Essop Pahad, minister in the presidency, said the government had taken note, “with some puzzlement”, of the Australian warning.

“There will be a sense of unhappiness among South Afrians that such a generalised warning should have been issued, echoing as it did a vague British statement some time ago which subsequently had to be placed in better perspective,” Pahad said in a statement.

Australia’s foreign affairs department issued a warning Thursday advising travellers to South Africa to exercise caution.

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