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Darfur referendum result widely rejected

April 25 - 2016 DARFUR
An anti-referendum demonstration by Darfuri students in central Khartoum on 18 April 2016 (RD)
An anti-referendum demonstration by Darfuri students in central Khartoum on 18 April 2016 (RD)

The result of the Darfur administrative referendum announced on Saturday has been rejected by a chorus of descent from the displaced, refugees, civil society organisations, armed movements, and political forces.

Voices from across Darfur society have expressed categorical rejection of the result of 97.72 per cent in favour of the ‘states option’, and condemned the announcement that more than three million Darfuris voted in the election as ‘a fraud’.

The controversial referendum was designed to allow people living in all five Darfur states to define the permanent administrative status of the region, by opting for the current status of five states (states option), or for a return to Darfur as one large state or province (region option).

On Sunday, Omda Ahmed Ateem, a leading figure within the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association, told Radio Dabanga that the announced result of the referendum “means nothing to the people of Darfur, as the majority of them are in the diaspora or refugees because of this government, and were not able to vote”.

His sentiments were echoed by Ali Yagoub, head of Treguine refugee camp in eastern Chad, who told Radio Dabanga that the refugees “reject the referendum, as refugees are not part of the process and have no right to vote”.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga on behalf of the civil society organisations, Zahra Abdul Naeim said that “the result of the referendum was a foregone conclusion known in advance, is not recognised, and will be resisted by the civil society organisations”.

Khalid El Omar, of the Sudanese Congress Party called on “the UN, EU, AU, the Arab League, and all friendly countries throughout the world not to recognise the results of this referendum which will double the instability in Darfur and the neighbouring countries”.

Minni Arko Minawi, head of the SLM-MM said that he “considers the result of the so-called referendum as a declaration of the already ongoing war in Darfur”.

Minawi added that “with the referendum result, the ruling National Congress Party intends to create new social and geographical divisions” within Darfur and Sudan.

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