SOUTHERN SUDAN VOTES ON INDEPENDENCE

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People are voting in Southern Sudan to gain independence from the north Sudan. The week long votes are expected to result in Sudan being split into two. South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir said: "This is an historic moment the people of Southern Sudan have been waiting for." The poll was agreed as part of the 2005 peace deal which ended the two-decade north-south civil war. The leaders of the mainly Muslim north have promised to allow the potential new country, where most people are Christian or follow traditional religions, to become independent peacefully. President Omar al-Bashir has warned an independent south would face instability. Many people queued up to vote long before polls opened. Southern Sudan has high levels of illiteracy so voters are faced with two symbols on the ballot paper – a single hand for independence or two clasped hands to remain one country. I hope by doing this Sudan will be peaceful again.

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