Jubilant residents of war-torn southern Sudan lined up outside polling stations on Sunday, the first day of a weeklong referendum on the question of seceding from the northern half of the country.

The vote on autonomy has been a long time coming, with the south still suffering from decades of civil war and neglect by the northern government. –JCL

Al-Jazeera English:

“The turnout was emotional,” Chan Reec Madut, who heads the South Sudan Referendum Bureau, said.

“We have never witnessed this kind of turnout before, even during the election,” he said, referring to last April’s presidential, parliamentary and state elections.

“There is singing, there is dancing, this is a day like no other in the history of the people of south Sudan.”

He said the polling would continue as scheduled on Monday.

A total of 3.9 million southerners have registered for the self-determination vote that may lead to the partition of Africa’s largest country.

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