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Sudan mourns former president
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Nov 5, 2008 - 6:49:22 AM

Sudan mourns former president


Khartoum - Thousands of mourners paid their respects during the funeral procession of Sudan's late president Ahmed al-Mirghani in Khartoum on Wednesday as his coffin was driven through the city for burial.

Well-wishers crowded into a private garden on the banks of the Nile river to greet the late president's brother, self-exiled opposition leader Mohammed Osman al-Mirghani, who returned to Khartoum for the first time in 15 years.

An AFP correspondent said thousands of people filled every available space in the garden. The funeral cortege is scheduled to proceed for burial at the Sayed Ali al-Mirghani grand mosque in Khartoum North, across the river.

Draped in the Sudanese flag, Mirghani's coffin was carried on the shoulders of military officers, saluted by an honour guard and received by Vice-President Ali Osman Taha at Khartoum airport after being flown from Egypt on Wednesday.

The late president, who was the figurehead presiding over a government run by former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi, was unseated in a military coup that swept current head of state Omar al-Beshir to power 19 years ago.

Mirghani, 67, passed away on Sunday in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, where he had lived. His remains were flown home on a Sun Air commercial jet.

The Mirghanis come from one of the most prominent families in Sudan who can trace their lineage back to the Prophet Mohammed.

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