Africa

Southern Sudanese Head to Polls

Vote may lead to freedom from repressive government in Khartoum.

On Sunday, millions of southern Sudanese began voting in a referendum for independence as required in the 2005 peace agreement with the Muslim-majority national government in Khartoum.

The high expectation could be seen in the faces of many and the excitement could be felt in the air as women sang and danced around a voting center in Nairobi, Kenya. Old age and sickness did not deter people from casting their ballot. Elizabeth Nyuon, 66, sat in the sun, patiently waiting to vote.

Thirty-year-old Jacob Akol traveled from the coastal city of Mombasa to Nairobi, Kenya, a distance of more than 290 miles, to vote in the South Sudan referendum.

He was at the polling center at Thika Road by the time the station was opening at 8 a.m. on Sunday. His reason for making that long journey: "I don't want future generations to live under the same terrible conditions that we have lived in!"

Like many other southerners, Akol has a personal experience of how the war in Sudan has affected millions. His father, ...

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