BY NEW BUSINESS ETHIOPIA REPORTER |
On Monday, the second day of a vote on southern independence, at least 36 people have died in tribal clashes between Arab nomads and tribes near Sudan’s north- south border Abyei region. South Sudanese waiting to cast their votes at a polling station in Juba, Southern Sudan, Monday January 10, 2011
Analysts say the central region of Abyei is the most likely place for north-south tensions to erupt into violence during and after the vote, the climax of a troubled peace deal that ended decades of civil war.
Southerners are expected to vote to split from the mostly Muslim north, depriving Khartoum of most of its oil reserves.
Voting began Sunday in south Sudan and eight different countries where southern Sudanese live, such as U.S.A., Britain, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia.
The south, which is mainly black and Christian or animist, is set to split apart from the north, which is Arab and Muslim. The two sides ended a 23-year civil war in 2005 with a peace deal that called for this week’s vote.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday specifically warned both northern and southern leaders not to use proxy forces over the voting period, highlighting international concerns that both sides might be resorting to tactics used in past campaigns.
A U.N. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told media that there were reports Misseriya fighters were re-grouping in the settlement of Golih Langar on Monday, 16 miles north of Abyei town, the headquarters of U.N. peacekeepers in the region and international aid groups.
Charles Abyei, speaker of the Abyei administration is quoted as saying: “A large number of Misseriya attacked Maker village yesterday (Sunday), backed by government militia. It was the continuation of attacks on the 7th and the 8th. The first day one person died, the second day nine, yesterday 13. These are all residents of Maker”.
The northern army’s spokesman on Sunday denied any involvement in the clashes.