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Vol 37 No 3

Published 2nd February 1996

Sierra Leone

Big sister's olive branch

Brigadier Maada Bio wants a family reconciliation to help end the rebel war

Freetown may be stumbling into a peace deal of sorts with the rebels it has been fighting for the last four years. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and his friends who seized power on 16 January have to square their repeated assertion that elections will go ahead on 26 February with their lack of enthusiasm to hand over power. Enter Maada Bio's big sister Agnes Deen-Jalloh. Agnes is a senior member of Corporal Foday Sankoh's Revolutionary United Front and it seems she is behind the rebels' offer of a ceasefire and unconditional talks, made a week after Maada Bio's coup. Agnes paid for Maada Bio's education; the two were close until she and her husband were kidnapped by RUF rebels from the south-eastern town of Bunumbu in 1993. Since then Agnes has been working for the RUF; last year she was spotted in a high level RUF delegation to Ghana.

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