Southern Sudan seeks independence

After decades of war and more than two million lives lost, southern Sudan will vote in an independence referendum. Polls opened on Sunday and most Sudanese are expected to vote for secession. The largest African country will split in two.

According to the NY Times, the U.S. government pushed for a peace treaty in 2005 that set the referendum in motion.

Despite being one of the world’s poorest and most war torn countries, most southern Sudanese believe independence will help hold the south together.

After all the years of guerrilla warfare and hardship, oppression and persecution at the hands of the Arabs who rule Sudan, people here are deeply invested in holding a peaceful referendum and building the world’s newest nation.

In 2009, ethnic fighting killed thousands in military-grade attacks, fueled by ethnic rivalries and a sudden increase in high-powered weaponry. Many southerners suspected the Khartoum government instigated the violence.

However, there was no violence the past six months and the UN seeks real reconciliation.

The north-south border needs to be defined and billions of dollars of debt will need to be shared.

British colonizers in the 1920s drew a line across the bottom of Sudan to check the spread of Islam.

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