With more than 60 percent of votes reportedly cast in south Sudan’s independence referendum, local officials are confident the outcome will be valid.
That is the turnout needed to ensure the result is regarded as legitimate.
The week-long poll is now in its fourth day and people are anxiously awaiting the conclusion.
One voter said: “It’s time for us to open our eyes, to know our side and our independence, so we can stand firm for our right to get independence and enjoy freedom for our land.”
As the vote continues, northern and southern leaders have been having crisis meetings over a surge of violence in contested border regions that has marred the ballot.
There are no confirmed recent statistics on the southern population, but it is thought to be mainly Christian, whereas the north is mostly Muslim.
Officials and the international community are hoping for peaceful co-existence between the two communities if the referendum passes.
Our correspendent Modamed Elhamy said: “Torn between a desire for separation and fear of marginalisation in a new state, some Muslims face a choice of two paths, both difficult.”