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CHRIS HONDROS/GETTY IMAGES

WELCOME: Liberians celebrate the arrival of Nigerian soldiers

During the past few weeks of fighting, the Old Bridge between downtown Monrovia and the industrial Bushrod Island formed the front line. Each push or counterattack started here and, invariably, ended here. But on Aug. 5, when government troops stepped onto the bridge, the rebels were waiting for them — with handshakes and hugs. "They looked at me and said, 'We're happy. We want peace,'" says Timothy Daydee, a 29-year-old government soldier. "I looked back and said, 'Yes, I want peace.'" For the rest of the afternoon, the rebels on one side of the bridge danced and waved white flags, while...

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