11 January 2011 – By the third day of polling in Southern Sudan’s self-determination referendum, voter turnout in Kallagan Payam along the disputed border between the north and south was dwindling.
Lack of transportation to the only polling centre in the payam was to blame, according to an UNMIS Malakal long-range patrol visiting the area, located 43 kilometres southeast of the so-called Contested Border Line (CBL).
Kallagan Polling Centre Chair Pin Chraso Kodok said that only 290 of 862 registered voters had cast their ballots by the third day of voting.
Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS) Corporal Yusuf Maya, one of four officers stationed in Kallagan Payam, said he was confident the situation in the border area would remain peaceful, whatever the referendum outcome.
“Besides SSPS, we also have the presence of Sudan People Liberation Army here, so (there is) nothing to worry about,” the corporal said.
The CBL in question runs between Upper Nile State and the Nuba Mountains, Southern Kordofan State, some 65 kilometres northwest of Kodok town, Fashoda County.
Kallagan Payam is home to the Shilluk tribe, but Arab nomads from the Misseriya tribe migrate to the area every October to graze their livestock.
Shilluk shepherd Michael Okhian said he was worried about security after the referendum. “If the result is separation, I’m afraid the Arab nomads who graze their cattle in our area will not be happy and may cause problems.”
Mansour Jibril, a Misseriya nomad, said that he and his brothers bring their herd to graze in CBL area every October. If the referendum split the country, he said he would relocate his family and livestock to the new state, Mr. Jibril said.
“We will move into South Sudan because there is water here, so we can survive,” the Misseriya said.