More violence in Sudan after Garang death
By Khaled Abdel-Aziz and Katie Nguyen
KHARTOUM/NEW SITE, Sudan (Reuters) – Northern and southern
Sudanese clashed in Khartoum on Tuesday in a second day of
violence sparked by the death of former rebel leader John
Garang who helped end two decades of war in Africa’s largest
The latest violence, in a shantytown on the south side of
Khartoum, came after at least 36 people died in Monday’s riots.
Witnesses said southerners again attacked northerners on
Tuesday. Authorities sent in police and helicopters.
In the country’s south, grieving relatives and supporters
of Garang — who led their war against the north since 1983 –
paid respects to him around a simple bed in a bush town.
On the international stage, diplomatic moves began to
ensure the January peace deal Garang’s former rebel Sudan
People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) struck with the government
of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir would not unravel.
Two senior U.S. envoys were on their way to Sudan to
encourage a smooth transition in SPLM to new leader Salva Kiir.
A delegation from Khartoum also went south to pay respects.
And continental heavyweight South Africa sent Foreign
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to Sudan, with plans to travel
to the south as well as Khartoum.
Garang, who just three weeks ago became Sudan’s
vice-president in a peace deal hailed as a rare success for the
continent, died when a Ugandan helicopter he was traveling in
went down in bad weather at the weekend.
There has been no suggestion of foul play.
Fellow ex-fighters gathered in New Site, a small settlement
in the remote bush of southern Sudan, where Garang’s body was
laid in a wooden casket with a flag. Scented charcoal burned in
the modest room where the casket rested.
The SPLM announced five days of mourning and said Garang
would be buried in their regional seat Juba on Saturday after
his body was taken to other towns in the region for mourning.
“The burial of our great leader John Garang will be in Juba
on Saturday the 6th of August 2005 at noon,” said a senior SPLM
official Pagan Amun. “He died in office and the choice of Juba
is determined by his stature.”
SOUTHERNERS AFRAID, ANGRY
Seeking to confound predictions from some of a messy
succession fight, the SPLM has moved swiftly to choose Garang’s
deputy, Kiir, to formally succeed him.
The SPLM expects Kiir to take Garang’s post as first vice
president in the new power-sharing government set up in the
January accord that ended the civil war.
Some southerners, who have long complained of
discrimination by the Islamic authorities based in the north,
fear their position may be weakened without Garang.
In some of the worst riots in the capital in years, angry
southerners rampaged through Khartoum on Monday, burning shops
and vehicles. After a curfew overnight, armored vehicles
deployed at strategic points around the capital on Tuesday.
The United States dispatched two top diplomats — Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs Connie Newman and the
U.S. special envoy to Sudan Roger Winter — to the country to
meet with the new SPLM leadership and talk to Khartoum.
Analysts say Kiir may bring a more collegial style to
southern politics which Garang had long dominated.
“John Garang was a special person, very charismatic and
visionary. He was different from Salva Kiir who is calm,
composed and calculative,” said Kenya’s Lieutenant-General
Lazarus Sumbeiywo Kenyan, chief mediator of the peace deal.
“We hope he will be able to fit into the shoes of Dr John
Garang, certainly he is a leader in his own right. He is more
of a politician than a soldier.”
Members of the SPLM and the government in Khartoum –
bitter enemies during the conflict — have vowed to keep the
A delegation from Khartoum, led by Federal Affairs Minister
Nafie Ali Nafie, went to New Site on Tuesday morning.
“We want to affirm here that we will work together with the
leadership of the SPLM,” Nafie said, standing next to Kiir.
Sudan is divided between an Arabised Muslim north and a
south which is a mix of African ethnicities with Christians,
animists and Muslims.
The peace deal included giving southerners the right to
vote on secession after a six-year interim period and also
shared out Sudan’s oil wealth between north and south roughly
Garang’s death stunned the region, where Sudan’s neighbors
helped negotiate an end to the civil war. Neighbors Kenya and
Uganda declared three days of mourning.
The conflict in south Sudan began in 1983 when the Islamist
Khartoum government tried to impose sharia Islamic law. Two
million people were killed, mainly by hunger and disease.
Garang’s wife Rebecca pleaded for calm. “I accept that God
has come to collect him,” she told Reuters in New Site. “It is
just my husband who has died. His vision is still alive.”
(Additional reporting by Wangui Kanina and Andrew Cawthorne