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Uganda president says Garang crash may not be accident

8/5/2005 9:13am

YEI, Sudan, Aug 5 (AFP) — Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Friday that the helicopter crash that killed Sudanese vice president and ex-rebel leader John Garang may not have been an accident, contrary to official explanations.

"Some people say accident, it may be an accident, it may be something else," Museveni said, suggesting for the first time that the July 31 crash of his presidential chopper in which Garang was riding may have been the result of foul play.

"I am looking (at) all options," he told a crowd of thousands of mourning southern Sudanese in Yei where Garang’s body was brought as part of a funeral procession before his Saturday burial in the town of Juba.

"The (helicopter) was very well equipped, this was my (helicopter) the one I am flying all the time, I am not ruling anything out," Museveni said, noting that an international panel of experts had been appointed to look into the crash.

"Either the pilot panicked, either there was some side wind or the instruments failed or there was an external factor," he said. "The inquiry will look at all possibilities."

News of Garang’s death and 13 others aboard Museveni’s Mi-172 helicopter sparked days of deadly violence in Khartoum and towns in south Sudan as northern and southern Sudanese clashed.

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