Police, protesters clash in south Sudan; 2 killed
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Security forces in south Sudan clashed with protesters upset with results from the country's recent elections, leaving at least two people dead and wounding four more, a United Nations official said Saturday.
The violence comes amid fears that a flawed vote in Sudan's elections earlier this month — the country's first multiparty vote in decades — could fuel violence in the conflict-strewn nation. The vote took place on the presidential, parliamentary and local levels.
The clashes erupted Friday after some 100 protesters took to the streets in Bentiu, the capital of the oil-rich Unity state, following an announcement by local election officials that an independent candidate in the race for the state governor's post, Angelina Teny, had lost, said David Gressly, the U.N. regional coordinator for south Sudan.
Teny, a former federal state minister in the Ministry of Energy and Mining, was beaten by Taban Deng Gai, the incumbent.
Gressly said the protesters were upset the results were announced locally instead of by national officials in Khartoum, and "must have suspected that something was procedurally wrong."
Sudan's elections have been marred by allegations of fraud and vote rigging, and international monitors have said the vote failed to live up to international standards.
Yohanis Pok, a spokesman for Teny's campaign, said Teny has appealed to her supporters to remain calm and said she would not challenge the results in the courts, even though she felt cheated.
Gressly said authorities had deployed additional security forces to Bentiu and that the city was calm Saturday.
Voting in the elections began April 11, but was extended through to April 15 after widespread complaints about the process. Election monitors say voting was delayed in some parts of the country, particularly in the impoverished south. There were reports some polling stations had been moved without notice, voter registries or other crucial equipment was missing and observers were not allowed in to witness the process.
The local, national and presidential elections were agreed to under a 2005 peace deal that ended 21 years of a bloody north-south civil war. The vote was intended to bring to power a democratically elected government for the impoverished country and prepare for a referendum next year on independence for southern Sudan.