More than one hundred people are dead and more than three-hundred others wounded in violent clashes following the death of Sudan's first vice president John Garang. According to news reports, many shops in Khartoum, the capital, were burned and looted. Violence was also reported in the southern town of Juba.
Two decades of fighting between the Islamic government in Khartoum, and the mostly animist and Christian Sudanese in the southern part of the country, led to the deaths of some two-million people, primarily from famine and disease. Four-million other Sudanese had been left homeless. A comprehensive peace agreement was signed in January. The agreement called for decentralizing power, sharing Sudan's wealth, and elections in three years.
Mr. Garang was working with Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir and Vice President Ali Osman Taha to form a coalition government. Vice President Garang, the former leader of the southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement, died in a helicopter accident. The U.S. has dispatched a National Transportation Safety Board team to investigate. Tom Casey, a U.S. State Department spokesman, says that there is "no reason to believe that anything other than bad weather may have contributed to this crash."
"What we think is important is that people remember what Dr. Garang's vision was for the country, the efforts he had made...over many years to reach the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the continued importance for us, for those who believed in him and his leadership, for those who followed him, that what they do to truly honor his legacy and respond to it is actually re-dedicate themselves to moving forward on the peace accord."
The United States "echo[s] the calls of the Government of National Unity and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement for all to remain calm and to refrain from violence," says Mr. Casey. The U.S., he says, urges "the Government of National Unity to continue to take steps to stop the violence, to promote reconciliation, and to maintain momentum on implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.