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January 10, 2011

A historic vote in Sudan

South Sudan, currently part of Sudan - the largest country in Africa, is holding a historic referendum this week following a 2005 peace treaty, where its citizens will decide whether to remain unified, or for South Sudan to secede and become a new nation. The 2005 treaty brought to an end decades of civil war between the Islamic north and predominantly Christian and animist south. The south is expected to vote by around 99 percent to secede from the north - which will also give it a majority of Sudan's oil. Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir has stated he would honor the vote, whatever the outcome. Should the vote to secede pass, the hard work of defining borders, working out how to share oil revenue and more will have just begun. Collected here are images of Sudanese people participating in this week's vote. (35 photos total)

A Southern Sudanese voter casts her ballot at a local polling station on the outskirts of Juba on January 09, 2011 on the first day of a week-long independence referendum expected to lead to the partition of Africa's largest nation and the creation of the world's 193rd UN member state. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

A group of south Sudanese people, who just arrived from Kampala, Uganda, in the bordertown of Nimule celebrate on January 9, 2011 the start of a historic referendum in Sudan. The deputy head of the South Sudan Referendum Commission, Chan Reec, hailed what he described as an unprecedented turnout in the first hours of the independence vote today. (MARC HOFER/AFP/Getty Images) #

A handout picture released by the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) on January 3, 2011 shows a UN helicopter airlifting voting materials to Tali in the central equatorial state on January 2, 2010, a week before balloting begins in Southern Sudan's long-awaited referendum on independence. (TIM MCKULKA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Sudanese supporter of secession pastes posters upon the arrival of Sudan's President Omar al-Beshir at Juba airport on January 4, 2010. Beshir said in a speech in the southern capital that he would celebrate the result of this week's referendum "even if you choose secession." (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

In this photo taken Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011 men pass time at the port in Juba, southern Sudan. The barge in front of them contains the possessions of southern Sudanese who have recently returned to their home from the north. Thousands of people began casting ballots Sunday during a weeklong vote to choose the destiny of this war-ravaged and desperately poor but oil-rich region. The mainly Christian south is widely expected to secede from the mainly Muslim north, splitting Africa's largest country in two. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #

Southern Sudanese sisters sits in a bus as they arrive in Bentiu after a three-day drive from Khartoum on January 9, 2011, on the first day of a week-long independence referendum expected to lead to the partition of Africa's largest nation and the creation of the world's 193rd UN member state. Tens of thousands of families are traveling back from the north as many believe the referendum for independence will split Africa s largest country in two. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Salva Kiir Mayardit, acting President of the Government of Southern Sudan, leaves a stadium after casting his vote during the first day of voting for the independence referendum in the southern Sudanese city of Juba January 9, 2011 in Juba, Sudan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

A southern Sudanese security guard stands outside a polling station in Juba as local residents queue on January 9, 2011 to vote in the first hours of a week-long independence referendum. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #

A mother and her daughter walk to a polling station during the second day of voting for the independence referendum January 10, 2011 in Juba, Sudan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

A Southern Sudanese man waits with his baby in a bus bound for south Sudan in al-Analdus area in the outskirts of the capital of Khartoum on January 6, 2011, days before a referendum on independence for south Sudan. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Southern Sudanese family waves to relatives from a train to Baher Al Gazal State in South Sudan, in Khartoum January 9, 2011. Southern Sudanese are heading home to the south in such convoys, organized by humanitarian groups in the south, to ensure their vote counts in the independence referendum. (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) #

South Sudanese people dance, with Kenya's capital Nairobi in the background, shortly after casting their vote during the referendum January 9, 2011. Millions of South Sudanese started voting on Sunday in a long-awaited independence referendum that is expected see their war-ravaged region emerge as a new nation. (REUTERS/Noor Khamis) #

Southern Sudanese voters lean on a wall as they wait to vote at a local polling station in Juba on January 09, 2011 on the first day of a week-long independence referendum. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #

An official shows a ballot paper to a South Sudanese man living in Kenya, at a polling station in Nairobi on January 9, 2011. (SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A southern Sudanese woman from Nuer tribe shows her registration card as she waits in a line outside a polling station in Bentiu, capital of oil-producing Unity state on the border with the north, to vote on January 9, 2011. Unity state was the scene of deadly clashes between the southern army and renegade militiamen in the run-up to the referendum. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

Southern Sudanese women queue outside a polling station in Juba to cast their ballots on January 9, 2011. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman places her finger in blue ink after voting during the independence referendum January 10, 2011 in Juba, Sudan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Thousands of southern Sudanese line-up to vote during the first day of voting for the independence referendum in the southern Sudanese city of Juba January 9, 2011. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Southern Sudanese Grace Gogonya Wainu, holding pictures from Sudan, one depicting her brother-in-law fighter Scofes Loboro at left, who she says died in 2005, cries after she cast her vote for the Southern Sudan Referendum in a special polling station set up in central London, Sunday Jan. 9, 2011. The only referendum polling center in Europe was set up in UK, one of the eight countries outside Sudan with significant diaspora populations. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) #

Southern Sudanese people are seen through a Southern Sudanese flag lining up to cast their votes in Juba, Southern Sudan, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) #

A southern Sudanese woman participates in a day of prayer at a church before the independence referendum vote tomorrow in the southern Sudanese city of Juba January 8, 2011. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Heavily armed Southern Sudanese soldiers on security detail outside a polling station in the southern Sudanese capital of Juba on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan conclude a visit to a polling center the southern capital of Juba Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #

Voting officials use cable ties to secure a ballot box at the Giyada polling center on the first day of a referendum in Nyala (South Darfur) January 9, 2011. (REUTERS/Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID) #

A Southern Sudanese couple dances outside a polling station in Cairo on January 9, 2011, on the first day of a week-long independence referendum. (MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images) #

A southern Sudanese voter shows the purple ink on his index finger after voting at a polling station in the southern town of Bentiu, capital of oil-producing Unity state on the border with the north, on January 9, 2011. (YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images) #

A girl wipes her face while holding a jug of water on her head during the second day of voting for the independence referendum January 10, 2011 in Juba, Sudan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Abeer Osman, The granddaughter of former Prime Minister and President of Sudan Ismail al-Azhari stands near the residence of al-Azhari, which is partially covered by a black cloth to protest against separation in Khartoum January 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah) #

A polling staff member leaves the polling center with a low output of Southern Sudanese voters, for a break, during the second day of the referendum in the suburb of Mandela on the outskirts of the capital Khartoum, Sudan Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. The Arabic reads "Come in with peace". (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) #

A south Sudanese man carries his bow and arrows as he leaves the polling center after casting his ballot in the referendum in the rural village of Peiti, northwest of Juba, south Sudan January 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya) #

Southern Sudanese queue to vote on the first day of polling in an independence referendum in Juba January 9, 2011. (REUTERS/UNMIS/Tim McKulka) #

A southern Sudanese police officer on security detail outside a polling station in the southern Sudanese capital of Juba on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #

A Sudanese journalist, Liza Taban, takes notes in a school turned into a polling center in Khartoum on January 10, 2011 on the second day of a landmark independence referendum. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

Southern Sudanese line up to vote at dawn in the southern capital of Juba Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Pete Muller) #

A southern Sudanese woman shows her inked finger after voting at a polling center in Khartoum on January 10, 2011. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images) #

 
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