Calm resumes in Bentiu

2 May 2010

Calm resumes in Bentiu

Following violent election protests on 23 April that left two dead and four others wounded, life in the Unity State capital of Bentiu is gradually returning to normal.

The streets are bustling and markets in Bentiu as well as neighbouring Rubkona have reopened. Transportation to and from Bentiu has picked up and security patrols have been withdrawn.

Political elite supporting defeated candidate Angelina Teny are reportedly leaving town, however. They fear retaliation from supporters of Taban Deng Gai, who was declared winner of the state governor's seat.

Bentiu resident Paul Franko said people should simply put aside their differences and unite. "There are people who say we belong to this leader or that one. When Dr. John Garang signed the CPA, he did not do it for certain families or tribes. He did it for the whole of Sudan."

Supporters of Ms. Teny, who had widely expected her to win, clashed with security forces after incumbent governor Mr. Deng was proclaimed winner.

According to the State High Committee announcement, Ms. Teny garnered 63,561 votes and Mr. Deng 137,362.

Unity state is particularly strategic due to its rich oil fields and proximity to the north.

The average voter, however, just hopes the elections will spark improvements in their daily lives. "What I want from those who have been elected is to engage in development, offer services to the people, construct roads, build schools and hospitals, provide safe drinking water and introduce sports and other important activities for the youth," said Mayel Gany Wiekuer.