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Sudan turns violent after vice president's death

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-08-01-sudan-violence_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA 8/1/2005 8:13 AM Sudan turns violent after Garang s death KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP)
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2005
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      http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-08-01-sudan-violence_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA

      8/1/2005 8:13 AM

      Sudan turns violent after Garang's death

      KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Rioters burned cars and threw
      stones in Sudan's capital on Monday after a helicopter
      crash killed the country's vice president, who until
      recently was a southern rebel leader.

      Sudanese leaders appealed for calm and said the
      nation's peace process would remain on track. But some
      southern Sudanese said they were suspicious about the
      circumstances of the death of John Garang, who was a
      key figure in a fledgling peace deal between the
      predominantly Arab Muslim government and the Christian
      south.

      Anti-riot police were deployed to several areas of
      Sudan's capital, Khartoum, where crowds were pelting
      passers-by with stones and smashing car windows. At
      least 10 private and government-owned cars were set on
      fire.

      The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum said there were reports
      of violence in south Sudan and issued a reminder of
      its warnings to Americans to avoid non-essential
      travel to the country. There were no details on the
      southern violence.

      The violence and widespread grief surrounding Garang's
      death forced most in the capital to lock themselves
      inside their homes. Shop owners shuttered their
      stores.

      "Murderers! Murderers!" yelled some southern Sudanese
      protesters who alleged the Sudanese government, which
      had battled Garang's rebel force for two decades
      before this year's peace deals, may have been behind
      the crash.

      "We lost Garang at a time when we needed him the most,
      but we think that we have made great strides toward
      peace and we believe that that peace process should
      continue," said Garang aide Nihal Deng during an
      emergency Cabinet meeting.

      Garang's longtime deputy, Silva Kiir, was quickly
      named to succeed him as head of his Sudan People's
      Liberation Army and as president of south Sudan,
      Garang spokesman Yasser Arman told The Associated
      Press.

      Kiir said he called a meeting of the Sudan People's
      Liberation Movement top decision-making body to
      assemble for an emergency meeting. The SPLM became
      part of the national unity government in July, when
      Garang became vice president.

      "I call upon all members of the SPLM and the entire
      Sudanese nation to remain calm and vigilant," Kiir
      said.

      Garang died when the helicopter he was flying in
      crashed into a mountain in southern Sudan in bad
      weather, killing him and the other 13 people on board,
      Sudan's government said Monday.

      In the capital of neighboring Kenya, groups of
      southern Sudanese men huddled to discuss Garang's
      death. Nairobi has been the base for Garang's southern
      Sudan liberation movement and is home to thousands of
      southern Sudanese.

      One Sudanese man in Nairobi, Atem Maper, 30, said that
      younger southern Sudanese were suspicious of the
      circumstances of Garang's death.

      "People are worried that the war will continue," Maper
      said. "They didn't understand the way he died. We are
      going to see."

      But the chief mediator during Sudans' peace
      negotiations, Kenyan retired general Lazaro Sumbeiywo,
      said he was sure there was no foul play in Garang's
      death because he flew over an area he controlled.

      "I totally disregard that (foul play theory)
      completely because the area he was flying into was an
      area he controlled," Sumbeiywo said.

      Garang's movement and the government vowed to move
      ahead with the peace process. But the charismatic
      leader's death strikes a blow to the January peace
      deal that ended a 21-year civil war between the mostly
      Muslim north and the Christian and animist south, in
      which some 2 million people died.

      Asked if there were any doubts over the cause of the
      crash, Garang spokesman Yasser Arman told The
      Associated Press that the group was awaiting an
      "intensive investigation to determine the cause."

      The crash of Garang's flight brought up the specter of
      the 1994 downing of the airplane of Rwandan President
      Juvenal Habyarimana, who had been trying to implement
      a power-sharing deal between his fellow Hutus and the
      rival Tutsis. His death opened the doors to the
      Rwandan genocide in which more than 500,000 people
      were killed.

      Mohamed Osman reported from Khartoum, and Tanalee
      Smith reported from Kassala, Sudan. Henry Wasswa
      contributed from Kampala, Uganda. Maggie Michael
      contributed from Cairo.
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