Sudan: referendum has begun peacefully

Bishop Edward Kussala

Bishop Edward Kussala

Southern Sudan's historic referendum on independence began peacefully on Sunday, with a high voter turnout, according to Bishop Edward Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio

“The fears of possible attacks by Ugandan rebels of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army), thank God have not come true, although we should be vigilant because the voting will not end until 15 January,” said Bishop Kussala. For several years the LRA have been conducting raids on the area.

Bishop Kussala says that “according to what I have been told by an Acholi leader from  northern Uganda, the LRA leadership seems to be divided between two options: attack during the referendum or wait for its conclusion and see if a new military operation will be taken against them,  by  armies of the countries threatened by this group (Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and South Sudan) with American support.

"In this case, the LRA will attack different parts of southern Sudan. The second op option seems to have prevailed so far."

The Acholi are the main population of northern Uganda and the LRA leadership is composed of members from this ethnic group.

Bishop Kussala said that in his diocese, he noticed that a number of southern Sudanese who lived in the north, were retuning home.  “These people find themselves in serious trouble because they have only a few personal effects with them. They are cared for by relatives and acquaintances, but our territory will find it difficult to absorb this flow of people, also because various agricultural infrastructure have been destroyed by previous LRA raids.”

According to Bishop Kussala about 30,000 southern Sudanese living in Khartoum intend to return to the south before the conclusion of the referendum. “We do not have the means and facilities, to welcome and support all these people,” he warned.

Source: Fides

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