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Sudan’s Kiir due in Khartoum on historic visit

8/10/2005 7:46am

KHARTOUM, Aug 10 (AFP) — Salva Kiir, successor to the late southern Sudanese leader John Garang, was to arrive in Khartoum Wednesday on his first visit to the capital in more than 22 years, the information ministry said.

Lieutenant General Kiir is due to be sworn as first vice president at a brief ceremony in Khartoum on Thursday, replacing the charismatic Garang who died in a helicopter crash on July 30 after only three weeks in the job.

Kiir, chairman of the former southern rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), will fly to Khartoum from Rumbek in south Sudan in a presidential aircraft, the Sudanese press reported.

The press added that he will be received at Khartoum airport by dignitaries including political and religious leaders as well as community leaders from the north and south.

The authorities stepped up security in the capital and its suburbs ahead of the visit, deploying additional armed police and soldiers on the streets, which witnessed deadly riots in the wake of Garang’s death.

There were no posters of Kiir on the streets or public buildings as was the case with the high-profile return to Khartoum of his predecessor on July 8, when a crowd of over a million people showed up at the city’s main square to welcome Garang.

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