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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Liberian minister quits over fire
Fire at presidential building
The fire damaged the president's offices
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia has accepted a minister's resignation over the fire that engulfed the presidential mansion last week.

Presidential Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly, who managed her successful election campaign last year, has taken responsibility for the damage done.

Mr Dukuly had been in charge of staff at Monrovia's Executive Mansion.

The blaze broke out as a meeting of regional leaders was about to begin, during independence day celebrations.

Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf said she respected Mr Dukuly's resignation because "when there is some failure, someone takes responsibility."

She then named Willis D Knuckles as Mr Dukuly's replacement.

The president was hosting the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone when the fire broke out on Wednesday, but all escaped unharmed.

The fire gutted the entire fourth floor of the mansion - where Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf's offices are - just hours after the president had turned on the first generator-powered street lights for 15 years in the capital city, ruined by the brutal 14-year civil war that ended in 2003.

The cause of the blaze is still being investigated but it has been established that it started in the cabinet rooms.

US-educated banker Mrs Johnson-Sirleaf became Africa's first elected female head of state following Liberia's first presidential elections since the end of the civil war.


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