Abyei’s Dinka vote to join South Sudan
Posted Saturday, November 2 2013 at 02:00
JUBA- Residents of contested Abyei region have chosen overwhelmingly to join South Sudan in an unofficial referendum, election officials said Thursday, amid warnings the poll could inflame tensions in the volatile region.
Only one of the two ethnic groups living in the area voted in the Thursday poll, which is not recognised by either Khartoum or Juba and which the African Union has warned is a “threat to peace”.
The fate of Abyei is one of the most important and sensitive issues left unresolved since South Sudan became an independent state in 2011, ending two decades of civil war in Sudan.
“The referendum committee has announced the results, and the number of people who have chosen to become part of South Sudan is 99.9 percent of the vote,” Luka Biong, spokesman for the Abyei Referendum High Committee, told AFP.
Celebrations including dancing and music broke out after the results were announced, he said.
African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said the vote was illegal and its organisers risk sparking a return to war between civil war foes in Juba and Khartoum.