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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba


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Repeating the jubilant scenes witnessed on Sunday, huge queues formed outside polling stations in the regional capital Juba from long before dawn as voters seized the chance to have their say on whether to split Africa’s largest nation and put the seal on five decades of north-south conflict. But a flare-up of violence in the disputed district of Abyei on the north-south border, where the feuding Misseriya Arab and Ngok Dinka peoples both reported heavy losses over the past three days totalling 33 dead, overshadowed the massive vote in the south. Tensions in the district have been rising with the launch of the southern referendum. Abyei had been due to hold a simultaneous plebiscite on its own future but it has been indefinitely postponed. The three main Western brokers of the north-south peace process — Britain, Norway and the United States — expressed their “deep concerns” about the situation in district on Sunday while commending the “people of Abyei for their patience in recent months”.