Deadly Clashes Mark Second Day of Sudan Referendum

January 11, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

A soldier guards a polling station in Juba, on Jan. 9, 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 U.N. member state. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
A soldier guards a polling station in Juba, on Jan. 9, 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 U.N. member state. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)
The second day of the week-long self-determination referendum in Sudan was marked by the killing of 36 people during skirmishes between Arab nomads and Southerners at the border between north and south Sudan, in the region of Abyei.

According to Luka Biong, a senior official from the south, the two sides were trying to split ownership of Abyei, being one of the main oil sites in south Sudan, Reuters reported.

Abyei was scheduled to hold a parallel referendum with south Sudan over whether it wants unity with the north or south, but the poll was postponed for an indefinite time.

Observers warn that shooting will not stop even if the secession of south Sudan becomes a fact. Over the weekend, more than 40 people were killed in armed clashes.

At the end of the second day of the referendum, which started on Jan. 9, 20 percent of the 3.9 million south Sudanese had cast their votes, according to the referendum's organizing commission.

The referendum will be valid only if more than 60 percent of registered voters cast their ballots and 50 percent plus one makes a choice for either unity or secession.