Tuesday, 11 January 2011

More violence as south Sudan goes to the ballots for the third day

According to official reports, 11 more people have been killed near the north-south border while on their way to cast votes in the historic independence referendum.

South Sudan's Interior Minister Maj Gen Gier Chuang Aluong said the figures were stacking up as 10 people had already been killed on Monday [10th January]. Reports of the latest fatalities emerged as southern Sudan held a third day of voting in a referendum that will determined whether or not the south will be divided from the north.

The week of balloting in southern Sudan is expected to produce a majority vote for independence. Speaking about the predicted outcome, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir said that he will let the oil-rich south secede in peace.

The latest outbreak of violence, which took place in Kurdufan on the north and south border, is thought to have been initiated by fighters from the Arab Misseriya. Senior member of the Misseriya nomads, Mohamed Wad Abuk, denied responsibility for the attack, but Aluong insisted that, “somebody must be responsible…and be accountable for what has taken place.”

The latest attack came only four days after clashes between Misseriya nomads, southern security forces and youths in the Abyei region, a hotspot of north-south tensions in the past. Experts fear that the last couple of incidents may incite more outbreaks of violence.

Sources: Aljazeera, Voice of America, BBC News

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

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