10 killed in Sudan ambush

Armed men killed 10 southern Sudanese in an ambush, a southern minister said on the third day of a referendum on independence for the south, but voters have defied gloomy predictions and turned out in huge numbers.

The attack on a convoy of people returning to the south for the referendum was the latest reported violent incident to mar the week-long vote, which is expected to see the south emerge as a new nation.

Vote organisers told Reuters a big turnout so far was almost guaranteed to reach the 60 percent of voters needed to make the poll valid. “A number of returnees were ambushed on Monday by a group of armed Misseriya.

“They ambushed 10 buses and seven trailers loaded with the belongings with these IDPs (internally displaced persons) coming from the north,” southern Internal Affairs Minister Gier Chouang Aloung told reporters on Tuesday.

Aloung said the attack had happened on the northern side of the border between the northern state of Southern Kordofan and the southern state of Northern Bahr al-Ghazal and local authorities had told him 10 died in the attack.

“The 10 south Sudanese could have voted... These attacks are not in south Sudan. It is in northern Sudan. The Misseriya is not a foreign tribe. It is in Sudan ... so the north is responsible.”  Mohamed Wad Abuk, a senior member of the area’s Arab Misseriya nomads, denied any involvement in the attack.

“This is a lie and the Misseriya has not attacked any convoy. The SPLM just want to exploit the situation in the area to create confusion,” he said, referring to the south’s dominant party the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.

Thousands of people took part in the third day of voting elsewhere in the south.
“It is proceeding very smoothly. There doesn’t seem to be any fear of not reaching the 60 percent limit,” said chairman of the vote’s organising commission, Mohammed Ibrahim Khalil.

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