Entries in Independence (4)


South Sudan Set to Become World's Newest Country

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JOHANNESBURG, South Africa) --  The streets of South Sudan's capital Juba were filled with people dancing with joy over the official announcement Monday that the proposed nation's independence referendum has passed, with more than 98 percent of southerners voting to secede.

In Khartoum, Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir were together as the official results were announced. Earlier, Bashir repeated that the Khartoum government will accept and support the results.

"Today we received these results and we accept and welcome these results because they represent the will of the southern people," Bashir said on state television.

The Obama administration also welcomed the results and congratulated both parties on a largely considered fair and peaceful vote.

"I am therefore pleased to announce the intention of the United States to formally recognize Southern Sudan as a sovereign, independent state in July 2011," President Obama said in a statement.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement that the United States would begin the process to remove Sudan from the state-sponsored terror list, a list that has resulted in the country being under strict economic sanctions for over a decade.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Sudan Independence Vote Draws Large Turnout, More Violence

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(JUBA, SUDAN) – As residents of Southern Sudan eagerly go to the polls to cast their votes for independence, violence continues to complicate what most hoped would be a peaceful process.

Residents all across the country are currently able to vote in a referendum for southern independence, which would separate the Islamic northern region of the country from the oil-rich and largely Christian south. This vote follows a nearly 20-year civil war that has claimed over two million lives. Voting has been frequent in the south, but ballots have been cast few and far between in the north, where residents are not as enthusiastic about a possible split.

Fighting continued Monday in the oil-rich province of Abyei, near the north-south border, where South Sudanese officials say 20 policemen were killed and 30 others injured by Arab militiamen. Military officials say the policemen were killed with anti-tank weaponry, indicating they are backed by the military in the north. However, Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, denies any state involvement.

In the south, pro-separation and anti-Khartoum signs are everywhere. “Bye Bye Bashir” read one banner, a sign of the long-standing animosity between the two regions which references current Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The voting is scheduled to last through Saturday, but the results are not expected to be announced until early next month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


George Clooney in Sudan to Bring Attention to Independence Referendum

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SUDAN, Africa) -- George Clooney is in Sudan, ahead of a week-long referendum that began Sunday and will likely lead to the southern part of the country declaring its independence.

Clooney has been actively involved for years in ending the civil conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, so the elections are important to him.  He tells ABC News, "I get an awful lot of undue attention at times in my life, and I thought I could parlay that, and if I was going to get that kind of attention, I should do it somewhere where people really need the attention."

Clooney says it's important that the referendum not result in more violence.  To that end, his organization Not On Our Watch helped launch a website late last month,, that is monitoring troops in the country.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


United States Issues Nigerian Travel Advisory to Americans 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- The United States has cautioned Americans traveling to Nigeria about the increased danger in the country.  The new travel warning, issued by the State Department, cited the recent bombing in the country's capital during Nigeria's 50th anniversary celebration.

A rebel group from Nigeria’s oil-rich south has claimed responsibility for the bombing and has threatened to carry out further attacks.

The travel warning also cites the escape of 150 members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, based in northeast Nigeria.  The group has carried out recent attacks on government institutions and is considered hostile to western foreigners.

Although this year marks the 50th anniversary of independence for the West African country, increased violence, kidnappings and continued political wrangling ahead of next year's hotly contested election have many Nigerians wondering what there is to celebrate. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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