SUDAN WATCH: John Garang Sudan's first VP and former rebel leader killed

Monday, August 01, 2005

John Garang Sudan's first VP and former rebel leader killed

Various news reports are saying the Sudanese presidency confirmed today (Monday) that southern leader and vice president John Garang, aged 60, died in a helicopter accident.

See Reuters report at FT.com and 800+ other reports on the story at Google news. Some are saying the tragedy of Dr Garang's death threatens stability in Sudan.

China News Agency Xinhua says SPLM terms Garang's accident as "natural".

For further news see Google search news on Garang, Sudan and Passion of the Present.

Statement by Garang's deputy Salva Kiir Mayardit

Southern Sudan's vice-president and deputy chairman of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) Salva Kiir Mayardit

Photo: Southern Sudan's vice-president and deputy chairman of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) Salva Kiir Mayardit briefs the media after the death of Sudan's First Vice-President and former rebel leader of SPLM John Garang in Nairobi, Kenya, August 1, 2005. (Reuters/Antony Njuguna)

Click here for official statement by first vice-chairman of the SPLM/SPLA, Commander Salva Kiir Mayardit broadcast by Kenyan KTN TV on 1 August. (BBC/ST)

Mourning the death of Garang

Mourning death of Garang

Photo: Southern Sudanese women mourn the death of Sudan's First Vice-President and former rebel leader of Sudan People's Liberation Movement John Garang in Nairobi, Kenya, August 1, 2005. (Reuters/Antony Njuguna)

Garang killed in helicopter crash

Photo: Sudan's First Vice-President John Garang boards a helicopter at Entebbe International Airport on his way to meet Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni at his country home in Mbarara, western Uganda in this July 29, 2005 file photo. Photo and caption by Reuters.

John Garang killed in helicopter crash

Photo: Sudan's former rebel leader and First Vice-President John Garang shakes hands with crew members as he boards an Ugandan helicopter at Entebbe International Airport on his way to meet Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni at his country home in Mbarara, western Uganda in this July 29, 2005 file photo via Reuters/Str.
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Sudanese VP, 13 others die in air crash

AP report via Guardian August 1, 2005:

The Sudanese government confirmed Monday that Vice President John Garang was killed when a Ugandan presidential plane he was traveling in crashed into a southern Sudan mountain range.

"It has now been confirmed that the plane crashed after it hit a mountain range in southern Sudan because of poor visibility and this resulted in the death of Dr. John Garang DeMabior, six of his colleagues and seven other crew members of the Ugandan presidential plane,'' according to a statement released by the office of Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir."
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Reuters says a UN official confirms Sudan's former rebel leader John Garang is dead.

China News agency Xinhua says Uganda is sending a team to locate Garang's aircraft crash. Garang left Uganda on Saturday afternoon by a Presidential Helicopter-MI-72, heading for his base at New Site in southern Sudan.

Reuters reports fears for SPLM/A chairman as helicopter goes missing.
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Excerpt from Reuters report Aug 1:

According to the statement by Museveni: "He [Garang] left Rwakitura in the President’s Mi-72 helicopter at around 1545 hours (local time) for his base at New Site (in Sudan), just north of Kidepo Valley National Park.

"Due to the need to refuel the helicopter, they stopped in Entebbe (in Uganda) and left at 1655 hours.

"By 1830 hours the chopper was overflying the Karenga and Kapedo areas near Kidepo. The helicopter attempted to land in southern Sudan at a place known as New Kush, but aborted the landing because of bad weather and headed southwest.

"It was heard over Pirre, towards the Kenyan border. Since morning, we have been searching the Kidepo area to locate the chopper without success," it said. (Reporting by Dan Wallis in Kampala)
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Sudan TV says Garang's aircraft landed safely

Here is a good example of why you can't believe a word of news out of Khartoum - even if it comes via an international news agency. See this copy of yesterday's report by Reuters entitled Sudan TV says Garang's aircraft landed safely:

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese state television said on Sunday the aircraft carrying ex-rebel John Garang, now first vice-president, had landed safely in a camp in south Sudan after it was reported missing earlier in the day.

"Reports indicate that the aircraft of the first vice president John Garang landed safely in a camp in the south," state television said in a brief statement without giving details. EAB
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Sudanese vice president's aircraft missing

KHARTOUM, Sudan, July 31 (UPI) -- The aircraft of Sudanese Vice President John Garang has been reported missing, according to Sudan's information minister.

Information Minister Abdel-Basit Sabdera said on state television the helicopter took off Saturday from Uganda bound for southern Sudan, but Ugandan air traffic controllers lost contact and the Ugandan military began a search, reported the Voice of America Sunday. The information minister said earlier reports that Garang's helicopter had landed safely were inaccurate.

Garang had been in Kampala visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

He became Sudan's first vice president three weeks ago as part of a peace agreement signed earlier this year that ended a 21-year civil war between the government and rebels in the south.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.
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Garang 'safe' in plane drama

Note this copy of a report from The Peninsula On-line: Qatar's leading English Daily 8/1/2005 [Source: Agencies]:

KHARTOUM: A plane carrying the former rebel who ascended to Sudan's No. 2 leadership post after a recent peace agreement landed safely yesterday after losing contact in bad weather on its way back from Uganda, Sudanese state TV said. State television interrupted its regular programing to say that Vice-President John Garang "has landed safely at a camp in southern Sudan". The report did not specify where. Earlier, Ugandan army spokesman 2nd Capt Dennis Musitwa said a helicopter carrying Garang apparently went down on Saturday. The discrepancy between the time and the type of craft could not be immediately explained. Garang had been on a private visit in Uganda, which has pledged to repair relations with Sudan now that peace has been declared in the southern war, Musitwa said.
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Sudan's VP Garang 'landed safely'

A BBC News report that I'd seen last night entitled "Sudan's VP Garang 'landed safely'" is still listed at Google news but when you click into the report, it has been replaced with an updated BBC report entitled Sudan VP Garang killed in crash.
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Sudan's John Garang 'is missing'

Here is a copy of yesterday's (31 July) report by BBC NEWS Africa Sudan's John Garang 'is missing' :

The whereabouts of Sudan's First Vice-President John Garang are unclear after a military helicopter taking him back from Uganda failed to arrive.

Mr Garang flew out on Saturday night but did not reach the destination in a village on Sudan's border with Kenya, the United Nations in Sudan said.

There were reports of bad weather in northern Uganda at the time.

The former southern Sudanese leader was sworn in three weeks ago as part of a peace deal ending a long civil war.

His Sudan People's Liberation Movemement (SPLM) has called a crisis meeting in Kenya, the BBC's Jonah Fisher reports from Khartoum.

'No communication'

Mr Garang had been due to arrive in the small village of New Site in southern Sudan.

Ugandan military spokesman Lt Col Shaban Bantariza told Reuters news agency the authorities had lost contact with the helicopter.

"What we know is they left here, they went and we don't know where they are - there has been no communication back," he said.

It is unclear where he is now, our correspondent says.

The missing leader steered his rebel movement through a bloody 21-year civil war against the government in the north which ended with the signing of a peace agreement in January.

Three weeks ago, more than a million people filled the streets of Khartoum as he returned to the capital for the first time and was sworn in as Sudan's first vice-president and president of the south.

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