Supporters take part in a rally to welcome the Sudanese president upon his arrival in El-Fasher, in North Darfur on April 1, 2016. AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY
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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir started a tour of Darfur Friday ahead of a referendum on whether to keep the conflict-torn western area as five states or to create one united region.The ruling National Congress Party back the five-state system but some opposition parties and Darfur insurgents have said the time is not suitable for a referendum.Darfur is home to myriad ethnic and tribal groups and it was a single region until 1994, when the government split it into North, South and West Darfur states.The Sudanese government is adamant the three-day referendum will go ahead.
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