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Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

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On November 28th, elections were held in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were only the second democratic polls in the nation's turbulent half-century of independence, and even before voters went to the polls there were signs that all was not well.

The Democratic Republic of Congo holds elections for president and parliament Monday. These are the second elections since a long dictatorship ended in 1997. Elections held in 2006 represented a transition to democracy.

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Voters in the Congo head to the polls at the end of this month. The campaigning has been beset by violence which threatens to undermine an electoral process in a giant nation that's at the heart of Africa. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Campaigning took a stormy turn when veteran Congolese opposition politician and presidential candidate Etienne Tshisekedi sent a bombshell. He proclaimed himself president and ordered his supporters to stage jailbreaks to free their detained colleagues.

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Yet another foreign army has sent its troops into Somalia.

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In Africa, there's been a mixed reaction to the demise of Moammar Gadhafi. Many people for whom the Libyan leader was a hero are mourning. Plenty of others saying good riddance to the man who meddled in the continent's many conflicts and bankrolled rival rebel groups.

The election pits Nobel Peace Prize winner and incumbent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, against fellow Harvard graduate Winston Tubman, who is a one-time justice minister and former U.N. diplomat. Prince Johnson, a rebel leader turned senator, is backing the incumbent because she's the lesser of two evils.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, fresh from winning the Nobel Peace Prize, was hoping for an outright re-election victory last week.

But Africa's first democratically elected female leader is facing a runoff election next month. She says she is confident Liberians will vote for her in big numbers, but the first-round voting last Tuesday shows she is facing stiff competition after six years in power.

Liberians go to the polls Tuesday to elect a new president and lawmakers in the second key elections since the end of the civil war in 2003. The incumbent leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa's first democratically elected female president — was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but her opponents say she deserves neither the award nor re-election.

Libya's longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi bankrolled and championed the vision of a United States of Africa, with himself as the continental president. As Libya struggles to find its equilibrium on the cusp of what appears to be the post-Gadhafi era, one question is its future as part of Africa: The African Union has not officially recognized the rebel leadership in Libya, saying "regime change" and outside intervention were wrong and that NATO overstepped its U.N.-authorized no-fly-zone mandate.

In the Horn of Africa, 12 million people are in need of food aid because of the drought. The people of Somalia, facing both famine and war, are some of the hardest hit.

Many of those fleeing Somalia seek refuge in the southwest, at Kenya's giant Dadaab refugee camp. The settlement is about 50 miles from Kenya's border with Somalia. There are almost half a million Somalis in the camp – with more arriving every day.

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Even in the relentless heat and dust of the sprawling Dadaab refugee settlement in northern Kenya, camp residents observe the dawn-to-dusk Ramadan fast.

Hawa Abdi is among them. She is from southern Somalia, a part of the country where famine has been declared by the United Nations. She says she has been a refugee at Dadaab for the past six months and is receiving assistance — but still would like more food and other aid.

In preparation for the iftar, the meal that breaks the daily fast, aid workers hand out rice, meat and vegetables several hours before sundown.

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