A Sudanese man holds a giant banner bearing a portrait of President Omar al-Bashir 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 on Friday ahead of a referendum on whether to keep the conflict-torn western area as five states or to create one united region.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 International Criminal Court indicted Bashir charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, all of which he has denied.Some 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict and there are 2.5 million people in the region who have been forced to flee their homes, the United Nations says.The Sudanese government is adamant the three-day referendum will go ahead.
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