Skip to comments.Sudanese Anglicans Grief-Stricken by Garang's Death
Posted on 08/05/2005 5:12:09 PM PDT by sionnsar
The shaky peace following 20 years of civil war in the Sudan may be coming apart as communal violence erupted in Khartoum following the death in an air crash on July 30 of Sudanese vice president and former rebel leader John Garang.
It has been planned to bury the body of the late Dr. John Garang in Juba Saturday, Aug. 6, the provincial secretary of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, the Rev. Enock Tombe, told The Living Church. The funeral service will be held at All Saints Cathedral. The late Dr. Garang was a Christian of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Diocese of Bor.
Leader of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army since 1983, Mr. Garang was sworn in as vice president July 9 as a part of a power-sharing agreement between the Arab Muslim north and African Christian south brokered by the African Union and the Rev. John Danforth, a special envoy who previously served as U.S. Senator and Ambassador to the United Nations.
Southern Sudanese in Khartoum rioted upon hearing the news of Mr. Garangs death in a Ugandan Army helicopter flying in South Sudan. According to the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, at least 130 people have died, and the BBC reported more than 800 wounded.
The SUNA state news agency reports the city is under a dusk to dawn curfew. Church leaders report rioting in Juba and other southern cities controlled by the Khartoum government, with mobs targeting Arab traders. The Rev. John Chol Daau, an Anglican priest serving at the Kukuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya, reports the camps are calm but grief stricken.
Popular sentiment among Christians in South Sudan holds that Mr. Garang was murdered, a belief prompted by a series of suspicious air crashes that have killed a number of African leaders. Mozambique President Samora Michel died in a plane crash in 1986 while Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimanas death in a 1994 plane crash triggered that countrys genocide.
Faith J. H. McDonnell, director of the Church Alliance for a New Sudan, told TLC that shortly before his death, Dr. Garang visited the Church of the Apostles in Fairfax, Va., to meet with 500 Sudanese leaders from across the United States.
Mr. Garang told the congregation that nobody was defeated by the January peace accords. Everybody has won.
He called for freedom of religion to all in his Fairfax address, saying Sudan should not be a theocratic state.
HOPES for peace in the Sudan faltered following the death at the weekend of one of the peace agreement's chief architects, John Garang. Amid fears of foul play, Southern Sudanese residents of Khartoum rioted upon hearing the news that the former rebel leader had died in an air crash. The SUNA state news agency reports the city is under a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Leaders in the Episcopal Church of the Sudan report rioting in Juba and other southern cities controlled by the Khartoum government, with mobs targeting Arab traders.
The Rev John Chol Daau, a priest of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan serving at the Kukuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya, reports the camps are calm but grief-stricken. Named Vice-President of Sudan following the end of the civil war in January, Col Garang led the predominantly African Christian Sudan People's Liberation Army for 20 years in its war with the Muslim Arab government in Khartoum. Christian suspicions that Col Garang was murdered have sparked fears that the tenuous cease-fire in the North/South civil war that has killed over 2 million might collapse. Suspicious air crashes have killed several African leaders. Mozambique President Samora Michel died in a plane crash in 1986 while Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana's death in a 1994 plane crash triggered that country's genocide. Thirteen died in the crash of the Ugandan Army helicopter carrying Col Garang near territory controlled by Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army. In a statement read to Parliament on August 1, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda stated he had appointed a panel to investigate Garang's death, and had approached a certain foreign government to rule out any form of sabotage or terrorism.
Church leaders in Sudan appealed for calm in the wake of the death. A statement from the New Sudan Council of Churches said that 'dark clouds were billowing' over the country. Christian Solidarity Worldwide called for urgent prayers for Sudan and praised Garang as a visionary leader, who steered the south through just over two decades of war and successfully negotiated peace with North Sudan. CSW released an eyewitness account of the troubles from Khartoum: We saw black, black smoke rising from the city centre. Supporters of the late Dr John Garang [are] smashing everything moving on the roads. The city streets are completely empty ... I do not know how long that will continue, as supporters are mobilising from the outskirts to converge on the centre. Unconfirmed reports say Omdurman is the most affected. ... I believe this will not be the end of story. God knows how it will end.
This is a terrible thing -- Dr. Garang is a great man.
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