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Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah (born February 16, 1932) was the 3rd President of Sierra Leone, serving from 1996 to 1997 and from 1998 to 2007.
He worked for the United Nations Development Programme and returned to Sierra Leone in 1992. He was elected president in 1996 Sierra Leone presidential election with 59% of the vote defeating his closest rival John Karefa-Smart of the United National People's Party (UNPP) who had 40%. Kabbah is the first Muslim head of state of Sierra Leone and the first Sierra Leonean president from the Mandingo ethnic group.
Most of his time in office was influenced by a civil war with the Revolutionary United Front, led by Foday Sankoh, which involved him being temporarily ousted by the military Armed Forces Revolutionary Council from May 1997 to March 1998. He was soon returned to power after a military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Another phase of the civil war led to United Nations and British involvement in the country in 2000. The civil war was officially declared over in early 2002, and Kabbah went on to win yet another term in office in the presidential election later that year with 70.1% of the vote, defeating his closest rival Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress (APC), who won only 19% of the vote.
Kabbah had served as an assistant district commissioner in the colonial administration, and later in senior civil service posts in several ministries. In 1968, he studied law in the United Kingdom and then took up a post at the United Nations as deputy chief of the West Africa Division. When he retired from the United Nations in the early 1990s, he was director of the Division of Administration and Management.