As the referendum approaches for Southern Sudan in January of next year to gain independence from Northern Sudan, our new Nursing & Midwifery College in Juba, awaits the results anxiously. Our partner at the UNFPA in Sudan sends us these weekly media summaries as everyone prepares for the voting.
- SSRC approves requests to monitor the referendum (Khartoum Monitor/SUNA)
- Registered voters to be announced next week (The Citizen)
- Sudan vote opponents spread confusion-poll chief (Reuters)
- UN panel welcomes conclusion of voter registration for referendum (UN News)
- Lawsuits to be filed before Constitutional Court on referendum malpractices (The Citizen; Al-Ahram Al-Youm)
- Talks on post-referendum issues to resume Monday – AU (Radio Miraya; Al-Sahafa)
- Southern Sudan party to campaign for independence-official (Reuters)
- NCP assures its Southern members of their citizenship status (Sudantribune.com)
- Misseriya agree to an “internal political solution” with Dinka Ngok on Abyei (Al-Ahram Al-Youm)
- South Sudan accuses north of dropping 18 bombs (Reuters)
- SPLA heavy military ware positions near Abyei (Akhbar Al-Youm)
- 9,000 Dinka Ngok families return to Abyei (Al-Sahafa)
- Police seek source of video showing girl being flogged (Al-Ahdath)
- Foreign organisations cause food gap in IDP camps of North Darfur (Al-Wifaq)
- Opposition forces to hold conference in Khartoum late this month (Khartoum Monitor)
- Zambia says Sudanese president should not fear arrest on its territory (Sudantribune.com)
- Al-Mahdi any attempt to topple the government would open doors of hell (Al-Rai Al-Aam)
- Sudanese army carry out more attacks against Minnawi in Darfur (Sudantribune.com)
Sudan vote opponents spread confusion-poll chief
Reuters Khartoum/Juba, 11/12/10 - Opponents of a referendum on independence for south Sudan are threatening lawsuits and spreading confusion to try to disrupt the vote, the chief official running the plebiscite said on Saturday.
The accusation came at a time of heightened tension around the poll, due next month. A southern official for the first time said her party would openly campaign for secession, bringing a warning from the north’s ruling party that it might refuse to recognise the result.
Mohammed Ibrahim Khalil, the head of the referendum’s organising commission, told Reuters he had been flooded with spurious complaints and threats of lawsuits, all apparently from the same group.
Southern leaders have accused the north’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) of trying to find ways to disrupt the vote to keep control of the region’s oil reserves.
“We have received complaints in identical terms from different parties very clearly instigated by one main source, all of them groundless … The whole idea is to create confusion and give the idea that something serious is going wrong,” Khalil, a northerner, said. He declined to say who he thought was behind the campaign of disruption.
State-linked media reported earlier that a group called the Higher Council for Peace and Unity had filed a “constitutional case” against the commission and the south’s dominant Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), saying they had violated the law governing the vote.
Senior SPLM member Yasir Arman dismissed the new case saying it was “baseless and politically motivated by the NCP”.
Separately, in the southern capital Juba, senior SPLM member Anne Itto said the party would campaign for southerners to vote for independence, abandoning a legal fiction that the movement was neutral.
“Since unity has not been made attractive, we are promoting what our people choose … If you have had your ears open, more than 90 percent of the people are already waving,” she said, referring to the open-hand symbol for separation printed on referendum forms.
Asked what she meant by waving, Itto answered “separation”.
Itto said she was speaking for the party’s dominant southern sector. Arman, from the northern sector, declined to comment.
Senior NCP official Rabie Abdelati accused Itto of breaking the terms of the peace deal by coming out for independence.
“They (the SPLM) are now working for secession regardless of the result of the referendum … The referendum will be nominal, illegal. I do not think that the NCP should recognise any process or any result that comes out of it,” he said, adding his party had nothing to do with the legal challenges.
South Sudan accuses north of dropping 18 bombs
Reuters Juba, 10/12/10 - South Sudan’s army accused the north on Friday of bombing its territory in the third reported air attack in a week, stoking tensions in the final countdown to a southern independence referendum.
No one was immediately available for comment from the northern army. The north has regularly dismissed southern accusations of air attacks.
“We can confirm that 18 bombs were dropped inside southern territory by northern forces. They hit southern villages,” said southern army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer.
He said the attack took place in Western Bahr al-Ghazal sate, which borders north Sudan, on Wednesday.
Aguer said he had no reports of injuries but buildings were destroyed. “They are testing us to see what we will do but we will never retaliate, unless they come on the ground, then we will defend ourselves.”
U.N. ceasefire monitors had visited the sites of the previous reported bombings but investigations were still in progress, said U.N. spokesman Kouider Zerrouk.
The north has also accused the south of building up weapons and troops close to their ill-defined, shared border.