Skip to comments.Butchered war victims line up to vote with their feet
Posted on 05/14/2002 5:48:55 AM PDT by Happygal
THE thousands of voters who had both hands cut off by rebels in Sierra Leone are being instructed to leave a print of their big toe on ballot papers for the presidential and parliamentary elections today.
Amputees like Mohammed Tarawali, a 20-year-old who had both hands hacked off with an axe by rebel soldiers near the town of Port Loko three years ago, have been practising for weeks, in the dust of the Murray Amputee Camp.
The ballot paper is divided into squares for the nine presidential candidates and parties. If the mark touches one of the dividing lines the paper is discarded as spoiled.
It is part of a huge effort being made by the Sierra Leone government, under the gaze of hundreds of aid workers and international advisers, to ensure that the elections - with 2,342,779 voters - go smoothly.
The incumbent President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah is widely expected to retain power, consolidating the fragile peace that has held in Sierra Leone since the May 2000 military intervention by Britain.
The last poll in 1996 was boycotted by the rebel Revolutionary United Front, which this time has its own candidates listed. (Daily Telegraph, London)
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