Juba — More than 99% of Abyei's Ngok Dinka resident have voted in favour of joining South Sudan, according to the committee that organised the unilateral and unofficial vote.
Luka Biong Deng, spokesperson for the Abyei high referendum committee, told Sudan Tribune from Abyei town that 63,059 people voted to join South Sudan, representing 99.89% of votes, with just 12 or 0.2% voting to remain in Sudan.
A total of 64,775 people registered to vote, out of which 63,433 voted and 362 were deemed invalid, said Biong.
Twenty-nine polling centres were opened during the three day vote which took place from 27-29 October.
Preparations for the vote first commenced in March, but intensified after the Ngok Dinka paramount chief was killed in May and South Sudanese president Salva Kiir calling for the region to be returned to the South.
Civil society organisations, comprising of youth, student, women and faith-based groups, as well as traditional leadership, the teachers' union and members of the general public played critical role in mobilising the community.
Although the referendum was conducted without the participation of either Sudan or South Sudan, the organising committee and observers said the process met with international standards and practices.
SHOW OF TRANSPARENCY
Media representatives from local and international news agencies which flew to the region to cover the event were granted full access, apparently to reflect the transparency of the process.
The vote was conducted peacefully, with no security interruptions from the rival Arabs Misseriya nomads reported.
Independent and non-political parties, as well as Christian and Muslim leaders in the region were among those who participated in the vote.