Historic day ahead after decades of war in Sudan





Several million people will decide in the next week or so whether to give birth to the world's newest nation.

They will cast ballots on whether to declare independence at polling stations sprinkled across the vast, flat plains of Southern Sudan, an East African landscape long riven by chaos.

War and famine have ravaged generations in the south for as long as anyone can remember. Fighting forced more people from their homes than in any other nation on earth. Hope remained elusive.

Yet the vote has given many southerners the rare sense of exhilaration that is borne of new beginnings.

From January 9 to January 15, the black Christians and animists in the autonomous region of Southern Sudan will vote on whether to declare independence from a northern government dominated by Arab Muslims. The two sides fought a war that killed 2 million people from 1983 to 2005, when a peace treaty set the stage for the upcoming vote.

Nearly 4 million have registered to cast ballots. Few doubt the outcome.



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