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A civil war that has raged for seven years in the small West African country of Sierra Leone has turned increasingly brutal 1 p1 Rebels are mutilating civilians without much response from the international community A strong Nigerian contingency has tried to suppress the rebellion but the rebels continue to cause major trouble in Sierra Leone The rebels overthrew President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah However President Kabbah returned to office on March 10 1998 to face the task of restoring order to a demoralized population and a disorganized and severely damaged economy 2 p1The country of Sierra Leone is located in western Africa between the countries of Guinea and Liberia and it borders the North Atlantic Ocean The actual area of Sierra Leone is slightly smaller than the US state of South Carolina The population of Sierra Leone is about 5080000 people Its legal system is based on English law and customary laws indigenous to local tribes Sierra Leones government consists of three branches the executive branch the legislative branch and the judicial branchPresident Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was inaugurated March 29 1996 and President Kabbah is both the chief of state and the head of government The presidents tenure of office is limited to two five-year termsOn May 25 1997 disgruntled army personnel under the command of Major Johnny Paul Koroma overthrew the democratically elected government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah 2 p1 After President Kabbah was overthrown he fled to exile in the neighboring country of Guinea In Guinea President Kabbah remained in the city of Conakry The coup leader a relatively unknown army major named Johnny Paul Koroma declared himself the new head of state and invited fellow rebel leader Foday Sankoh to join the government 3 p1 During the rebel invasion the rebels seized the legislature burned the national treasury and raided the capital of Freetown Once the coup was in control of the capital the leaders imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and closed
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