Sudan opposition claims video shows election fraud

The clip was apparently filmed in the eastern Red Sea state.

Sudanese opposition activists say a video which apparently shows election officials stuffing ballot boxes proves their claims of poll rigging.

The clip, which has not been independently verified, has been posted on YouTube and is being circulated by a coalition of campaign groups.

The National Elections Commission (NEC), however, dismissed it as a fake and is not even investigating it.

The elections were held under a deal to end a 21-year north-south civil war.

The polls - presidential, parliamentary and regional - were the first multi-party elections since 1986.

We will not investigate anything that appears on the internet

al-Hadi Mohamed Ahmed
National Elections Commission

Results are expected this week after the elections, which were extended by two days due to organisational problems.

Several opposition parties withdrew in the north, saying President Omar al-Bashir's National Congress Party was trying to rig the voting.

On Tuesday the US said the elections were plagued by "serious irregularities" and more should have been done to prevent them.

An election monitoring group earlier told the BBC it suspected that one of its observers had been kidnapped and beaten in the semi-autonomous south.

'No complaint'

The YouTube video was apparently filmed in the eastern Red Sea state.

It shows people wearing the distinctive orange bibs of election officials and traditional white gowns seemingly stuffing ballot boxes.

It has been circulated by the Sudan Democracy First Group - a coalition of trade unions and activists.

"This video is proving everything we said that the elections are rigged and they rigged the boxes," said opposition Communist Party official Siddig Youssef, reports the Reuters news agency.

However, NEC member al-Hadi Mohamed Ahmed told reporters that no complaint had been received.

"We will not investigate anything that appears on the internet."

At the weekend, the EU and the Carter Center, led by former US President Jimmy Carter, said the polls had fallen short of international standards.

However, both concluded the 11-15 April vote was a significant step towards democracy.

President Bashir is expected to be re-elected, after his two main challengers withdrew, alleging fraud.

The former rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) are equally expected to retain power in the south.

The complicated ballot in Africa's largest country was beset by problems and heavily criticised by the Sudanese opposition and local observers.

Observers said the ruling parties in both the south and the north also used their huge advantage in resources to influence the vote.

The EU's team was withdrawn from Darfur, where low-level civil war continues, because of fears about safety and whether the monitors could observe freely.