News / Africa

Sudan Referendum Clouded by Border Violence

Polling staff and local observers at a polling center during the second day of the South Sudan referendum in the suburb of Khartoum, 10 Jan 2011
Polling staff and local observers at a polling center during the second day of the South Sudan referendum in the suburb of Khartoum, 10 Jan 2011

Voting in very high numbers is continuing in South Sudan’s independence referendum, while violence persists in the Abyei border region with the north. Africa experts in the United States are worried about long term prospects for peace.

Voters have been lining up at voting stations in massive numbers during the week-long referendum to decide whether South Sudan will become a new African country.


One of them, Yohana Deng, is looking forward to no longer having to pledge allegiance to Sudan’s government in Khartoum. “OK I am saying 'bye bye Khartoum', it is finished. Everything from today is finished. Bye Bye. Bye Bye,” Deng said.

A vote for separation is widely expected.

The referendum comes as part of the internationally-brokered 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, which ended two decades of fighting between the north and south.

A separate referendum was supposed to take place in the oil-rich Abyei border region.  But it was postponed because of a number of issues, including whether the Misseriya herdsmen who pass through the area to graze their cattle should be allowed to vote.

As voting began in the south, violence broke out in Abyei between the pro-Khartoum Misseriya, local residents of other tribes, and security forces.

“Our tribe does not initiate an attack, but if attacked we have a right to defend ourselves with ten times the force used, no matter how powerful the attackers are.  Abyei is connected to our life style, and depriving it from us would be like a death sentence,” said El-Sadiq Babu Nimir, a Misseriya tribal leader.

In Washington, a panel of experts expressed concern at the situation. “While securing the referendum has been an international priority, the long-term stability of the region lies in the ability of the north and south to forge a post-CPA relationship,” said Comfort Ero, the Africa program director for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

Fouad Hikmat, a Kenya-based expert on Sudan issues, says despite the strong voter turnout in the south, there is little reason yet to be optimistic. “There is serious nervousness and volatility. That is where this procedure is happening and at the same time, there is no full agreement on any of the post-referendum issues. None,” Hikmat said.

Those "post-referendum issues" include the exact demarcation of borders, the sharing of revenue for southern oil going through northern pipelines, as well as what to do with Abyei.

Results of the southern referendum are expected early next month.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs