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Sierra Leone Rebels to Field Presidential Candidate - 2002-04-09

Sierra Leone's former rebels have nominated a candidate for the nation's presidential elections in May, after saying last week they would not field a contender.

Electoral commission officials said today (Tuesday) the former rebels, now known as the Revolutionary United Front Party, have nominated party secretary general Paolo Bangura.

Last week electoral officials ruled that jailed rebel leader Foday Sankoh was ineligible to run. Mr. Sankoh is in prison on charges connected to the killing of 20 protesters outside his home two years ago.

Mr. Bangura will face among other candidates incumbent President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, who is seeking a second five-year term.

The Revolutionary United Front agreed to hand in its weapons and become a political party in January under an agreement that ended Sierra Leone's 10-year civil war.

(reuters, bbc, files)