Thousands of jubilant southern Sudanese queued through the night to cast their vote in a week-long independence referendum which is expected to divide Africa’s largest country. However, the celebrations were marred with deadly tribal clashes.
AFP - Southern Sudanese began voting on Sunday in a week-long independence referendum expected to lead to the partition of Africa's largest nation and the creation of the world's 193rd UN member state.
Thousands of jubilant south Sudanese had queued through the night to be among the first to have their say on whether the impoverished south should finally break away from rule by Khartoum.
Clooney, who has long campaigned passionately for Sudan, described the launch of the referendum as a "great day for all the world."
"We have been fighting for too many years but today this vote for separation is also for peace. Soon the sun will be shining over a free south Sudan."
IN PICTURES: REFERENDUM COUNTDOWN
A woman shows the symbols for the two choices on the South Sudanese referendum ballot: an open hand for separation (left), two hands together for unity (right). ©AFP
A giant screen in Juba's centre counts down the days, minutes and seconds left before polls open. © Melissa Bell
The flag of South Sudan already flies in Juba. There is no doubt as to which way Sunday's vote will go. © Melissa Bell
The memory of decades of war gives way to dancing in Juba, just days ahead of the referendum poll. © Melissa Bell
"Today, I am repeating my offer to Sudan's leaders -- if you fulfil your obligations and choose peace, there is a path to normal relations with the United States," he wrote.
Date created : 2011-01-09