7 Jan 2011

Thousands return to South Sudan for vote

1:35 pm on 7 January 2011

As Southern Sudan's independence referendum approaches, thousands of people are making their way home in order to vote.

The vote, to take place on Sunday, will decide whether the oil rich south should secede from Sudan.

The referendum is part of a peace accord to end a decades-long civil war that killed more than two million people, the ABC reports.

Under the accord, Southern Sudan achieved a measure of independence from Sudan five years ago.

During the fighting, millions of southerners fled north to escape the bloodshed.

Many are now returning, drawn by promises of a better life, and driven by fear of being left on the wrong side of the border once the outcome is decided.

Salva Kir, a former guerilla soldier in a rebel army, now heads Southern Sudan's autonomous government.