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African observers arrive in Sudan ahead of Darfur administrative referendum

March 31, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - An African Union team Thursday arrived in the Sudanese capital to monitor the three-day administrative referendum in Darfur region which will be held during the second week of April.

A policeman watches out as a polling staff waits for voters at polling station at Abu Shouk IDP’s camp in Al Fasher, northern Darfur April 14, 2010 (Reuters)

Darfur residents are called to vote from 11 to 13 April on whether or not the region will keep its five states or reunite as one entity with a semi-autonomous administration.

While several Darfurian parties and groups call to maintain the current administrative territorial division, the head of Darfur Regional Authority Tijani al-Sissi called last week to reunite the five states under one administrative entity. Also, armed and political opposition groups are opposed to the vote saying achieving peace is the priority.

A Darfur Referendum Commission (DRC) official Ibrahim Diraig Thursday told reporters that the African Union Monitoring team arrived in Khartoum, adding that it is composed of several African countries, Egypt, Ivory Coast and Uganda.

Diraig said that a committee is tasked with the reception of the different teams, adding also the pooling stations and electoral officers are directed to facilitated their mission.

DRC media official Aisha al-Hoairah announced the completion of preparations for the launch of the voting process, noting that the commission visited all the polling stations in Darfur five states.

She further said the commission accredited 52 local organizations for the monitoring of the referendum adding that seven regional and international organizations, including the African Union will dispatch observers for the process.

In the North Darfur capital El Fasher, the governor Abell Wahid Youssef said they have completed the arrangements to receive the President Omer al-Bashir who will visit the region on Saturday before the referendum.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) calls to vote in favour of the five states.

According to the official statics, one million and 143 thousand voters are registered for the vote process.