It has been a long week in Juba this week, covering South Sudan’s historic voting in their independence referendum. From the jubilant celebrations as voting opened, to the empty voting centres that characterised the last few days.

The ballot boxes were sealed for the final time, and locked away as staff took some repose as the heavy sun set. Armed police guarded the container where they rested, before being brought out under electric light, and tipped open onto the counting tables amid much protocol.

From where we stood behind a small cordon, the ballots seemed to be ubiquitously marked with a thumb-print next to the open-palm symbol of secession.