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In Pictures: Abyei decides
The vote wasn't recognised by either Sudan or South Sudan, but residents of the oil-rich border region still celebrated.
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2013 13:16
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Following a referendum in the contested Abyei region, a prominent ethnic group has voted overwhelmingly to join South Sudan - but it's unlikely that the unrecognised vote will have much of an impact in an area beset by poverty and unrest.

Thursday's poll in the oil-rich Abyei region, which straddles Sudan and South Sudan, was not recognised by either Khartoum or Juba. The African Union, meanwhile, warned that referendum was a "threat to peace".

More than 99 percent of voters chose to be part of the world's youngest country - South Sudan was established in June 2009 following a referendum for independence, the final stage in a peace deal which ended the two-decade Sudanese civil war.

Patrolled by about 4,000 Ethiopian-led UN peacekeepers, the area is home to the settled Ngok Dinka tribe, closely connected with South Sudan, as well as the semi-nomadic Arab Misseriya, who traditionally move back and forth from Sudan grazing their cattle.

Only the Ngok Dinka voted - although organisers insist it was open to all residents - and the Misseriya have already angrily said they would not recognise the results of any unilateral poll.

"The people are celebrating, there is dancing and music, and the nine chiefs of the Dinka Ngok are marching, they will sign a declaration of commitment to join South Sudan," Luka Biong, spokesman for the Abyei Referendum High Committee, told AFP news agency.

Despite the celebrations, few believe the situation on the ground will change as result of the referendum.


/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera
Thousands of people forced to flee Abyei in fighting two years ago have returned for the referendum.


/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

People have returned from as far away as Australia and the United States.



/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Buildings ruined during conflicts in the past were used as a shelter by the returnees.



/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera
A group of young Ngok Dinka warm themselves in the morning sun outside a school in Abyei during the referendum to decide whether the region should join Sudan or South Sudan.


/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Referendum officials wait for the final few voters towards the end of polling in the three-day vote.



/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Only the Ngok Dinka voted, although organisers insist it was open to all residents, and the Misseriya have already angrily said they would not recognise the results of any unilateral poll.



/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera
A sign on the side of a disused school advertises the referendum. A mark beside the open hand is a vote for unity with South Sudan, and a mark beside the the clenched hands is for Sudan , the two choices facing voters in Abyei referendum.


/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera
A voter proudly shows the indelible ink on her index finger, showing that she has already taken part in the referendum.


/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera
More than 99 percent of respondents voted to join South Sudan.


/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Both the Sudan and South Sudan governments, along with the African Union that is playing a mediation role between the two, do not recognise the referendum.



/Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera
There are concerns the referendum could stoke more violence, but for most people of Abyei, life is expected to follow its normal course despite the referendum results.


Follow Peter Greste on Twitter: @PeterGreste


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images:
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captions:
Thousands of people forced to flee Abyei in fighting two years ago have returned for the referendum.;*;

People have returned from as far away as Australia and the United States.

;*;

Buildings ruined during conflicts in the past were used as a shelter by the returnees.

;*;A group of young Ngok Dinka warm themselves in the morning sun outside a school in Abyei during the referendum to decide whether the region should join Sudan or South Sudan.;*;

Referendum officials wait for the final few voters towards the end of polling in the three-day vote.

;*;

Only the Ngok Dinka voted, although organisers insist it was open to all residents, and the Misseriya have already angrily said they would not recognise the results of any unilateral poll.

;*;A sign on the side of a disused school advertises the referendum. A mark beside the open hand is a vote for unity with South Sudan, and a mark beside the the clenched hands is for Sudan , the two choices facing voters in Abyei referendum.;*;A voter proudly shows the indelible ink on her index finger, showing that she has already taken part in the referendum.;*;More than 99 percent of respondents voted to join South Sudan.;*;

Both the Sudan and South Sudan governments, along with the African Union that is playing a mediation role between the two, do not recognise the referendum.

;*;There are concerns the referendum could stoke more violence, but for most people of Abyei, life is expected to follow its normal course despite the referendum results. Daylife ID:
2f679f43f3fcde44c83893d192567a8f
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera;*;Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Abyei referendumhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendumen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Fri, 01 Nov 2013 10:55:05 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/a9348ab6cf5ce4d08cbc0a612cc66a96

Thousands of people forced to flee Abyei in fighting two years ago have returned for the referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/a9348ab6cf5ce4d08cbc0a612cc66a96Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Thousands of people forced to flee Abyei in fighting two years ago have returned for the referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/9f73738ff052cf7bdae9ec6f49739854

People have returned from as far away as Australia and United States .

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/9f73738ff052cf7bdae9ec6f49739854Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

People have returned from as far away as Australia and United States .

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/65c3b5c7ccff7da0e854381e6c00637e

Buildings ruined by the pasts conflict were used as a shelter by the returnees.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/65c3b5c7ccff7da0e854381e6c00637ePeter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Buildings ruined by the pasts conflict were used as a shelter by the returnees.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/411354b591ccb483ddef30c138976173

A group of young Ngok Dinka warm themselves in the morning sun outside a school in Abyei during the referendum to decide whether the region should join Sudan or South Sudan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/411354b591ccb483ddef30c138976173Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

A group of young Ngok Dinka warm themselves in the morning sun outside a school in Abyei during the referendum to decide whether the region should join Sudan or South Sudan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/1e6a3e7a1fe8fabb2fa4c30d48514f95

Referendum officials in a wait for more voters towards the end of polling in the three day vote.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/1e6a3e7a1fe8fabb2fa4c30d48514f95Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Referendum officials in a wait for more voters towards the end of polling in the three day vote.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/b3084587c8e10298416114f3f09fd675

Only the Ngok Dinka voted, although organisers insist it was open to all residents , and the Misseriya have already angrily said they would not recognise the results of any unilateral poll.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/b3084587c8e10298416114f3f09fd675Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Only the Ngok Dinka voted, although organisers insist it was open to all residents , and the Misseriya have already angrily said they would not recognise the results of any unilateral poll.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/c5f06c50dab6407de146a4c7cb7db112

A sign on the side of a disused school advertises the referendum. A mark beside the open hand is a vote for unity with South Sudan, and a mark beside the the clenched hands is for Sudan , the two choices facing voters in Abyei referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/c5f06c50dab6407de146a4c7cb7db112Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

A sign on the side of a disused school advertises the referendum. A mark beside the open hand is a vote for unity with South Sudan, and a mark beside the the clenched hands is for Sudan , the two choices facing voters in Abyei referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/f708f44dc38398f15ffca911d0afe901

A voter proudly shows the indelible ink on her index finger, showing that she has already taken part in the referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/f708f44dc38398f15ffca911d0afe901Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

A voter proudly shows the indelible ink on her index finger, showing that she has already taken part in the referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/b13b7a5f7a988e1d947fe874399e102e

More than 99 percent of respondents voted to join South Sudan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/b13b7a5f7a988e1d947fe874399e102ePeter Greste/ Al Jazeera

More than 99 percent of respondents voted to join South Sudan.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/47a35e6d0f0f58029139a74ef852d134

Both the Sudan and South Sudan governments, along with the African Union that is playing a mediation role, do not recognise the referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/47a35e6d0f0f58029139a74ef852d134Peter Greste/ Al Jazeera

Both the Sudan and South Sudan governments, along with the African Union that is playing a mediation role, do not recognise the referendum.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/267427bdb6a4feb679ab44cba9ea49ad

There are concerns the referendum could stoke more violence, but for most people of Abyei, life is expected to follow its normal course despite the referendum results.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Abyei_referendum/slideshow/no-caption/267427bdb6a4feb679ab44cba9ea49adPeter Greste/ Al Jazeera

There are concerns the referendum could stoke more violence, but for most people of Abyei, life is expected to follow its normal course despite the referendum results.



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