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Hundreds of Abyei residents line up to vote on choice between Sudan and South Sudan

A local leader says hundreds of Abyei residents are lining up to vote in a referendum on whether to join Sudan or South Sudan.

Luka Biong of the Abyei Referendum High Committee — a civic group that is organizing the vote — said Sunday that polling was proceeding peacefully.

He said the results of the three-day vote will be announced Oct. 31.

Both Sudans claim ownership of oil-rich Abyei, whose status was unresolved after South Sudan became independent from its northern neighbor in 2011.

The region's majority Ngok Dinka people are generally in favor of joining South Sudan. The Sudan-allied Misseriya nomads, who come to Abyei to find pasture for their cattle, are not participating in the referendum that is not officially backed by the governments of either Sudan or South Sudan.