WASHINGTON -- A bishop in northern Sudan said he believed the people of Southern Sudan were "marching toward the goal of what they expected, to be free in dignity and respect of rights," as a referendum on independence passed the halfway mark.
Auxiliary Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur of Khartoum wrote Jan. 12 from the town of Kosti in northern Sudan that the polls remained calm. At least two observers from the South reported that voting there was also going well.
Most observers expected the people of Southern Sudan to vote to separate from the rest of the country. Southern Sudanese in the country's North as well as those who fled to other countries, including the United States, were allowed to vote beginning Jan. 9.
However, Adwok said many people from Southern Sudan living in the North voted against independence, fearing they would face reprisal from the Islamic government in Khartoum if the South seceded. In many locales in the North, the bishop said, all or almost all registered voters had been to the polls by Jan. 12.