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[Published: Tuesday October 21 2008]

Charity denies hunger'forgery'

Niamey , 22 Oct-(ANA)- Medicalcharity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has rebutted claims that it exaggeratedthe number of malnourished children in Niger.

The charity has appealed tobe allowed to resume work in the region of Maradi, where Niger's government ordered it tostop operating in July.

MSF said some 8,000children had since been deprived of treatment.

Human rights groups reportthat government hospitals are not adequately equipped to deal with thechallenge, he says.

But Niger's HealthMinister Issa Lamine told state radio that the situation in Maradi was"not dramatic" and that the local health authorities could handle it.

Niger 's government has accused MSF of workingillegally, inventing numbers for malnourished children, and conductingpropaganda about famine in order to raise money.

However, MSF PresidentMarie-Pierre Allie said her organisation had been using figures provided by Niger's healthministry. (ANA)

FA/ANA/22 October 2008---

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