IN BRIEF : Peaceful hand over in Sierra Leone

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The Independent Online
Freetown - An elected government took power yesterday in Sierra Leone, which overcame civil war and a military coup to complete the transition to civilian rule. In one of the region's rare peaceful handovers of power, the President-elect Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, a lawyer and long-time politician and United Nations development worker, took over from the military leader General Julius Maada Bio amid thunderous applause and a 21-gun salute.

General Bio, in power since leading a coup on 16 January, reminded Mr Kabbah of his tasks in a speech on the eve of the inauguration. "As I speak today, there are still 2.1 million Sierra Leoneans, or 47 per cent of the country's population, who have been forced by violence to abandon their homes," he told diplomats and international aid groups. "The outlook is grim." AP