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Nation Rushes To Vote Despite Rebel Threats

Sun., Feb. 25, 1996

Unswayed by the threat of rebel attacks, thousands of Leonians eagerly lined up Saturday to register to vote in their country’s first elections in a decade.

Rebels who have dragged the country through five years of civil war beheaded 22 villagers last week who had said they wanted to vote in Monday’s presidential and legislative elections.

The rebel threats led the army to ask each political party to provide 100 volunteers to help with security.

But thousands ignored the danger in a last-minute rush to register for multi-party elections they were never sure would actually take place.

“I feel my one vote is very important and will make a difference,” said Cynthia Barnes, a businesswoman in Freetown, capital of this West African nation. “Let us try democracy this time.”

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