9 killed in Sudan election

JUBA - Sudan's ruling party said the southern army had killed at least five of its officials and four other people during the first open elections in 24 years.

Agnes Lokudu, head of the northern-dominated National Congress Party in semi-autonomous south Sudan, had earlier yesterday said all nine killed were party officials, and that the murders were politically motivated.

The south Sudanese army said the deaths were the result of a crime of passion by one of its soldiers.

"At night some soldiers came to the home of the president of the National Congress Party in Raja and killed him and eight other people," Lokudu said.

Raja county is in Western Bahr al-Ghazal state in a remote part of south Sudan.

Sudan's elections entered the last day of a five-day voting period yesterday and have been largely free from major violence. Opposition boycotts in much of the north left little competition for incumbent President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

But tension has been high in the south between parties and independents opposing the SPLM, who have complained of arrests and harassment.

Lokudu said Because most people voted for the NCP "the (army) got very angry and shot him (the local president)".

The southern army said one SPLA soldier had caught the NCP's top official in the village of Tensah in Raja county committing adultery with his wife, so he shot them both and six other "Arabs" who tried to stop him. - Reuters