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8/5/2005 9:10am


Sudan Organisation Against Torture


On 1 August 2005, the death of Dr. John Garang De Mabior, (60 yrs), First Vice- President of Sudan in a helicopter crash in southern Sudan en route from Uganda was announced to the world.

The death of Dr. John Garang, three weeks after he was sworn in as Sudan’s First Vice President and eight days before he was due to form a new interim government with the ruling party has come as a body blow to us at SOAT. We mourn the death of Dr. Garang and view his death as a loss not only to Southerners but to the whole of Sudan. Much hope and expectations were vested in Dr. Garang, and his untimely death has caused much grief and apprehension. We offer our condolences to Mr. Garang’s family, to the SPLM and to all the people of Sudan.

Violence in Sudan

Immediately following the announcement of the untimely death of Dr. Garang on 1 August, several hundreds of people went on the streets in Khartoum. Demonstrators enraged by their suspicions that Dr. Garang’s death was not an accident and who always suspected that the historic Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed on 9 January 2005, between the National Congress and the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) which brought an end to two decades of conflict was illusory have burnt office buildings, cars, and randomly beating people on the street in what appears to have a spontaneous show of grief and anger.

The response of the police has improved somewhat since the first day of the demonstrations. It appeared that the government was unprepared for the response that the death of Dr. Garang would generate; their initial response was for the police forces to use tear gas on crowds in an attempt to disperse crowds from the centre of Khartoum and consequently simply transferred the violence to the outskirts of the capital. Elsewhere, in Omdurman and Khartoum North, security forces initially refused to intervene as demonstrators set alight shops and both private and government vehicles. The government has also imposed dusk to dawn curfew, a curfew which remains in effect at the time of writing and has arrested 1453 people, many of which are believed to have appeared before the courts already.

The violence which accompanied the protest has resulted thus far in the death of at least eighty seven people and the injury of thousands. The violence which originally sized Khartoum on 1 August 2005 has now spilled over to the different squatter and periphery areas where 325,000 Southerners displaced from the two decade war which Dr. Garang painstakingly negotiated an end to reside. Furthermore the violence has also spread further a field, in Juba, Bahrel Jebel State; over twenty have been killed.

Among those killed are:

Mohamed Younis Abdella
Mustafa Ali Mohamed
Mukhtar Mustafa Ahmed
Yasir Galal Eldein Ismail
Mohamed Suliman Abdelmomin
Ali Eldasougi Ali
Obeda Ahmed Mohamed
Hamid Guerashi Hamid
Elnaeim Omer Mohamed
Ibrahim Bashair Maki
Ibrahim Bashir Musa
Abdelaziz Hassan Saied
Abdelrahim Osman
Faozia Ali (W)
Yordanis Gray
Malual Majak Deng
Allaa Eldien Abdelhaleem
Ahmed Saad Osman Saad
Suliman Sir Elkhatim Abdelgadir
Yazid Abdella Silik
Ahmed Mohamed Hawari
Mamoun Elnawasi
Ayuel Deng (W)
Ya Deng Malau
Sidig Ahmed Sidig
Mohamed Ali Abdella Elnour
Rajab Mohamed Abdelhas
Adelkarim Yousif Osman
Mustora Ayuel (W)
Suliman Elkhartim

In addition to the above, there are also reportedly forty dead bodies in the mortuary next to Khartoum hospital that their relatives have refused to collect.

Five days after the death of Dr. John Garang, the situation in Khartoum is one of an uneasy calm.

· SAOT notes and welcomes Mrs. Garang De Mabior and Salva Kiir Mayardit calls for calm and appeals to all Sudanese people to ensure that the legacy of Dr. Garang, the CPA is implemented fully and speedily and that his vision of a secular and united Sudan is not placed at risk.

· SOAT welcomes the announcement of the formation of a committee of investigation into the death of Dr. Garang. The severity of the consequences of Dr. Garang’s death deserves a thorough investigation. SOAT urges the government not to obstruct justice, by ensuring that the investigation is impartial, fair and independent and to make public the committee findings.

· SOAT appeals to the ruling government security apparatus to exercise restraint in their response to demonstrators and to refrain from exacerbating the sense of profound shock and disbelief among many in Khartoum nor to complicate further the steps already undertaken to secure a lasting peace in Darfur, Western Sudan and Eastern Sudan.

· SOAT urges the government to fully welcome Salva Kirr Mayardit, the successor to Dr. Garang and to continue to undertake its obligations as stated in the CPA and to ensure that the death of Dr. Garang is investigated thoroughly, independently and publicly. SOAT calls on both the ruling government and the SPLM to continue the promotion of national reconciliation, and to immediately suspend the curfew imposed on Khartoum and to ensure the imposition of a curfew is not the automatic recourse for managing civil disturbances.

· SOAT appeals to all political parties, civil society organisations, community leaders, religious leaders and all the Sudanese people to play an active role in bringing together their community and undertaking steps to reduce the communal tension.

SOAT is international human rights organisation established in the UK in 1993. If you have any questions about this or any other SOAT information, please contact us:

Argo House
Kilburn Park Road
London NW6 5LF, UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7625 8055
Fax: +44 (0)20 7372 2656
E-mail: [email protected]


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