JUBA - South Sudan's President Salva Kiir vowed on Monday to confront the corruption plaguing his country a year after it declared independence and said the new nation's economy still had to be "liberated" from its dependence on foreign powers.

Wearing his signature black fedora, Kiir addressed an assembly of dignitaries and a cheering crowd to mark the nation's first independence day after splitting from Sudan under a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.

Two helicopters bearing the country's red, green and black flags flew over the crowd of thousands gathered in the scorching sun to attend the ceremonies. Tanks, rocket launchers and infantry paraded past.

Many South Sudanese hoped the country's emergence as the world's newest nation would begin an era of prosperity, but the country has remained mired in disputes with its northern neighbou over oil, the border and a many other issues.

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