Thousands Vote in Southern Sudan as Violence Flares in Disputed Area

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Latest News Update: Thousands Vote in Southern Sudan as Violence Flares in Disputed Area

Southern SudanJuba, Sudan (BBC News Blog) — Hundreds extra people today streamed to polling locations in a very historic referendum on independence for Southern Sudan on Monday even as violence flared in a very disputed area in between north and south.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, meanwhile, stated Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir advised him that Southern Sudan really should not need to shoulder Sudan’s financial debt must it secede through the county. The query of the best way to split Sudan’s financial debt is 1 of various problems that might need to be resolved in the event the south votes for independence, as is broadly anticipated.

“I spoke with President al-Bashir. He stated the whole financial debt must be assigned to north Sudan rather than to your southern component,” Carter advised BBC News Blog Monday morning. “So, in a very way, Southern Sudan is beginning having a clear sheet on financial debt. They’ll need to make some arrangement for other resources of earnings, needless to say.”

The south would turn into independent in July if voters pick independence and no other road blocks emerge. Voting started on Sunday and can finish Saturday.

The referendum is really a hallmark of your 2005 peace treaty that ended 22 a long time of war in between a federal government dominated by Arab Muslims inside the north and black Christians and animists inside the south. That war killed a minimum of two million.

At 1 polling station inside the south, in Lologo, around the outskirts from the southern funds of Juba, some people today slept close by or arrived early Monday. The cause: So lots of voters showed up on Sunday that some had been turned absent.

Mary Luluwa shuffled to your front in the line with her wooden cane. She is virtually completely blind and needed to be demonstrated by election officials the way to location her thumbprint.

Luluwa does not know precisely how aged she is, but she mentioned she is specific how she will vote.

“For freedom,” she stated. “I am extremely pleased to vote, it is my very first time, I’m previous and I cannot see a lot, but I voted for my kids.”

But violence continued Monday following days of clashes major as much as the referendum.

A minimum of 23 persons are already killed in ongoing clashes about the disputed area of Abyei, an oil-rich region that the British transferred to Sudan in 1905.The 2005 peace agreement referred to as for individuals in Abyei to vote this week on regardless of whether to stay component with the north or return to your south, but that vote has become delayed.

Clashes have occurred for 4 days in between members from the Ngok Dinka ethnic group, which are likely to have additional in prevalent using the south, along with the Misseriya, a nomadic Arabic tribe that arrives in and from the Abyei area and whose sympathies would most most likely tilt towards the northern authorities.

The death toll was no less than 23. Thirteen had been Misseriya, in accordance to hospital officials in close by Muglad. 10 had been reported dead in Abyei, mentioned John Ajang, secretary common with the Abyei authorities.

“Clashes have now entered their fourth day in between the Abyei federal government forces and armed militias,” Ajang stated. “We don’t think that these are mere Misseriya tribesman; we think that these are Sudanese government-supported militias.”

Ajang stated witnesses described large weaponry inconsistent using the automated weaponry observed carried by Misseriya tribesmen within the previous.

“We think this really is an try by the Sudanese authorities to get Abyei whilst the federal government of south Sudan forces are hectic using the referendum,” Ajang mentioned.

An worldwide election observer stated the 1st day of voting appeared to possess been well-handled.

Voters “were waiting patiently. They had been within a pleased, celebratory mood. They went by means of the method in an orderly way, largely,” David Carroll, director of your Democracy Plan in the Carter Middle, mentioned inside a phone interview from Juba.

The Atlanta-based Carter Middle has about 70 observers in Sudan and 30 observers in 8 other nations exactly where Southern Sudanese are dwelling and voting, Carroll stated.

Representatives from the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League as well as the Intergovernmental Authority on Improvement are also observing the referendum.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Retailer and U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague praised the vote.

“This represents a historic step towards the completion on the Complete Peace Agreement,” the 2005 treaty, they stated inside a joint statement.

Southern Sudanese individuals who lived inside the north for many years have crossed back again into their homeland to vote inside the referendum. Meanwhile, some voters within the north mentioned they voted for unity, such as 1 lady who stated she did not see a stage in splitting up the nation.

Prior for the voting, Southern Sudanese diplomat John Duku mentioned a unified Sudanese nation “means only 1 factor — it indicates war.”

“Over the many years, unity has imposed war on us, the unity has imposed marginalization on us, the unity has imposed slavery on us,” he mentioned. “So, what’s the which means of unity? For that persons of south Sudan, it indicates only war.”

Thabo Mbeki, a former South African president and chairman from the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan, has stated the folks of Sudan will need to redefine and reconstruct the relations in between north and south following the referendum.

The south has repeatedly accused the north of attempting to stoke tension by supporting rebels troops to destabilize the south, an allegation the Arab Muslim-led federal government in Khartoum denies.

Wour Mijak, a spokesman for that Sudan People’s Liberation Motion in Abyei — the governing social gathering in the southern area — mentioned police intercepted militias on the Misseriya on Friday and skirmishing ensued. 1 police officer and 4 members in the militia had been killed, and six with the militia had been wounded. Skirmishes continued Saturday, he mentioned.

But Hamadi al-Dudu, a Misseriya tribal leader, stated Misseriya herders had been with their grazing cattle within the region of Umbalayil once they had been approached by the Southern Sudanese forces in vehicles with large weaponry.

“It was an unprovoked assault,” al-Dudu stated. “Our persons fought back again.”

Even having a secession vote, stumbling blocks could stay — about 20% on the border region has not been demarcated, plus the division of oil revenues in between the two sides might be an problem.

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