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Abyei's Ngok Dinka Tribe Votes to Join South Sudan

  • VOA News

A man waves a South Sudanese flag as he celebrates referendum results in the town of Abyei, Oct. 31, 2013.

A man waves a South Sudanese flag as he celebrates referendum results in the town of Abyei, Oct. 31, 2013.

Residents in the Abyei region claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan have voted to be part of the south, although neither country's government is recognizing the poll.

Results of an unofficial referendum, released Thursday, show the vast majority of the region's Ngok Dinka ethnic group favor an alliance with South Sudan.

However, the region's other major ethnic group, the nomadic Misseriya tribe, did not participate in the vote. Leaders of the Misseriya, which are allied with Sudan, have said they would not recognize the results.

Abyei Referendum High Committee member Zachariah Deng Majok told VOA on Thursday that more than 99 percent of voters had chosen South Sudan during the three-day referendum that began Sunday.

Only 12 voters out of nearly 65,000 favored joining Sudan.

The status of the 10,000-square-kilometer Abyei region has been in limbo since the signing of a 2005 peace agreement that ended a 20-year civil war in the once-unified Sudan.

A referendum on Abyei was originally set for January 2011. However, Sudan and South Sudan were unable to agree on who was eligible to vote. South Sudan said it was unwilling to include the nomadic Misseriya tribe in the polling.

The Abyei region is prized by both countries for its oil reserves and fertile land. It is currently under United Nations' administration.

Abyei Residents Vote on Whether to Join Sudan or South Sudan

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