Sudan to hold referendum in restive Darfur amid surge in fighting
A referendum will be held in Sudan’s conflict-ridden Darfur region on Monday on whether to unify its five states into one, as long demanded by rebels seeking greater autonomy, amid a recent surge of clashes there.
While the 3-day vote is expected to uphold the five-state system — as desired by the Sudanese government — ethnic minority insurgents, who have been staging an armed rebellion against Khartoum since 2003, say the vote cannot be fair due to the ongoing fighting.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has, however, emphasized that the situation in Darfur, western Sudan, is stable enough to conduct the referendum.
“It is the people of Darfur who choose whether they want states or one region and we are holding this referendum so that no one else can come and say we want this or that,” Bashir said last week as quoted in the report.