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It was just five years ago that Sudan ended Africa's longest-running civil war - one that lasted two decades and took the lives of two million people. The conflict ended in a peace deal, which promised a referendum on southern independence to be held in January 2011. 

But less than three months to go there is a lot of uncertainty over whether Sudan will be ready for this vote and what will happen if it is not held.

With fears growing that the country will descend back into civil war, the United Nations is planning to redeploy peacekeeping forces from the South to what it is calling "hotspots" along the line that divides the two sides.

The Sudanese army has warned against the move saying it is illegal and a sign of either ignorance or interference. 

So, in light of the ongoing tension, will the referendum take place on time? And what would a delayed vote mean for Sudan?

Inside Story, with presenter Laura Kyle, discusses with Atem Karang, the deputy speaker of Sudan's national assembly and a senior leader of the SPLM, Safwat Fanos, a professor of political science at Khartoum University, and Edward Thomas, a Sudan expert.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Saturday, October 16, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera