News / Africa

South Sudanese Want Independence From North

A southern Sudanese man dons traditional tribal accessories during a pro-independence march in the southern capital of Juba, 09 Sept. 2010
A southern Sudanese man dons traditional tribal accessories during a pro-independence march in the southern capital of Juba, 09 Sept. 2010

Multimedia

Audio
Margaret Besheer

On January 9, Sudanese are to vote on the future of the country's unity. Southern Sudan's mostly African Christian and animist population is widely expected to vote for separation from the mainly Arab and Muslim north.

It is difficult to find a person on the street in Juba who says they want to remain a part of Sudan. Many were emphatic about the coming divorce, like Abraham, a 26-year-old student.

"And for us, we the citizens of South Sudan, no one is going to vote for unity," Abraham said.

Asked why they want to break with the north, most say they feel discriminated against and marginalized by their Muslim-Arab compatriots.

Riw, 26, is studying telecommunications engineering in Ukraine. He says unity only serves the northerners, who he, like many people here, accuse of being racist against southerners' ethnicity and religion.

"This unity actually it is not serving us. Because the Muslim in the north they always, you know, like [favor] themselves," Riw said. "They never, never give any rights for non-Muslims and they never, never value any non-Muslim to be a human being like them. They call you names, they put you in [a] very difficult categories and you get yourself, you are very, very different from them. So it is hard to stay with such a people."

Riw, like many southerners, also complains the south has been neglected in terms of development.

"The south never benefitted from the unity," he added. "I mean the development, the education, the health, everything is very, very poor in the south. So even this little development, these little services we have today has just started from 2005."

That is when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ending the two-decade long civil war between north and south was signed. It is that agreement that calls for the vote on unity.

Some observers worry that the results of the referendum or the possibility that it could be postponed might lead to renewed violence between north and south. But the southerners VOA talked to, like law student Samuel Kuir, 28, said if there is war it will not be initiated from their side.

"So that is why we, the youth, nowadays actually, we are not ready for war, that is what I want to tell you," Kuir said. "But if it is the only solution to protect our rights and our freedoms then we will opt for that. But we are not really calling for it, because we were subjected to war during that 21 years and we are not actually willing to have a war again in Sudan."

He says he hopes Sudan's international partners in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement will intervene to make the referendum go smoothly.

Samuel Cadhor, 37, a health worker, agrees.  "We need the international community, United Nations and the American government to coach and guide this referendum, this is what we need," he said.

Southerners say they will choose independence because they have suffered too much as a unified country and are better off on their own. Then they say, development and prosperity will come to their region.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid