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Southern Sudan: high hopes, fears as independence approaches

Catholic World News - July 06, 2011

The people of southern Sudan are in high spirits as the date of their new nation’s independence approaches, reports the secretary-general of the Archdiocese of Juba.

On July 9, southern Sudan will become an independent state, with Juba as its capital, as the result of a referendum vote in January. "The population has high hopes for the future, because it is believed that, thanks to independence, the situation will be different,” says Father Martin Ochaya.

The excitement over independence is tempered by fears of renewed fighting in Abyei and South Kordofan, the border provinces between northern and southern Sudan. Southern Sudan won independence after a long and bloody civil war; the neighboring provinces remain, reluctantly, under the control of the Khartoum government.

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