IN JANUARY, the Southern Sudanese sounded their aspirations for their homeland, loud and clear: independence. Millions took to the polls in a plebiscite on self-determination and the vast majority favoured splitting from the north.
The ballots came in from the South Sudanese in the country’s home states as well as those residing in the north and in many other countries. Jubilation over the peaceful secession vote followed two decades of turbulence in Sudan in what some call one of Africa’s longest civil wars.
Religious and ethnic tensions fuelled discord between the Muslim-dominated north and Christian-majority south, ravaging the country and leaving some two million dead. The Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) reached a peace deal in 2005, mandating the referendum.