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 in which 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 organizers told Reuters the big turnout so far meant the total was almost guaranteed to reach the 60 percent of voters needed to make the poll valid.
“A number of returnees were ambushed yesterday 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.
The attack took place in the northern state of Southern Kordofan close to the border with south Sudan and 10 people were killed in the attack, Aloung said.
“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.