Sierra Leone voters head to the polls

2012-11-17 09:35

Freetown - Voters in Sierra Leone are casting ballots in the country's third election since the nation's brutal civil war ended.

Observers say Saturday's vote will be a crucial test of the West African country's democratic credentials.

Voters are choosing between incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma and eight other challengers.

It's not clear whether Koroma can win the 55% needed to avoid a runoff vote.

Economic development is at the top of voter's concerns. Most Sierra Leoneans live on less than $1.25 a day and remain desperately poor desperate the country's vast mineral riches.

Sierra Leone suffered a devastating 1991-2002 war that was depicted in the film Blood Diamond. Tens of thousands died, and rebels inscripted child soldiers and amputated the limbs of their victims.