Monday, 10 January 2011

Southern Sudan takes to the polls for the second day amid reports of violence

It has been reported that at least 36 people have been killed in Sudan's Abeyi region in the clashes between tribes-people and the ethnic Arab Misseriya. A spokesman for the administration of central Abyei region, Charles Abyei, said members of the Misseriya began attacking the village of Make on Friday 7th January.

Abyei's Dinka Ngok tribe, in the south, also accused Khartoum of enabling the clashes by arming the Misseriya with weapons and added that they were expecting more attacks in the coming days.

In trying to counteract the accusations of initiating the attacks, Misseriya's leader, Mokhtar Babo Nimr, said it was the southerners who started the fighting, leaving 13 of his men dead.

"They attacked us because they don't want the Arabs to go south to water their herds. But the cattle need water and they will go. If they continue to stop us going south this fighting will continue," he said.

Reports of violence emerged as thousands of south Sudanese gathered in from of the polling stations for the second day of voting in the historic independence referendum. The vote, expected to divide Africa's largest country, has evoked both violence and joy as Southern Sudan's President Salve Kiir couldn't hold back the tears when the southern Sudanese took to the polls in the regional capital of Juba, on Sunday 9th January.

Experts says that the central region of Abyei is most likely to undergo biggest outbreaks of violence during and after the referendum, due to a troubled peace deal which ended decades of civil war.

Sources: The Daily Telegraph, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Reuters

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

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