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Nigeria Recognizes Libya Rebels

Nigeria's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Viola Onwuliri (File Photo)

Africa's most populous country, Nigeria, has recognized the Libyan rebel council as the "legitimate representative of the Libyan people."

In remarks to reporters Tuesday, Nigeria's minister of state (junior minister) for foreign affairs, Viola Onwuliri, also called on longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to give up power immediately.

A growing number of countries have recognized the Libyan rebel council as the country's legitimate power, as rebel fighters seize control of Tripoli.

Kenya stopped short of recognizing the rebels Tuesday, but acting Foreign Minister George Saitoti said Libya's "interim authority" should start an inclusive political dialogue and work toward free and fair elections. The Kenyan statement referred to the "impending collapse" of the Gadhafi regime.

The African Union, which tried to mediate the Libyan conflict, has yet to recognize the rebels. AU heads of state are scheduled to hold a series of meetings in Ethiopia's capital later this week.