May 24, 2010 (JUBA) – A veteran politician, and the first Southern Sudanese official to head the Republic of Sudan, has died.
Luigi Adwok Bong Gicomeho died on Friday, 21st May in the national capital, Khartoum, after a long illness and was buried on Sunday in his native village in Upper Nile state.
Born in 1929, he had been President of Sudan for the first time in December 1964, when Sudan went through a period of collective leadership under a Committee of Sovereignty. The head of that Committee of Sovereignty was elected on rotational basis to lead the country.
Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain visited Sudan during the time Adwok was the acting President of Sudan.
President Omer Al-Bashir on Saturday issued a statement expressing sincere condolences of the Sudanese presidency to Luigi’s family.
Paying his condolences on behalf of the Southern Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardit and on behalf of the government, Vice President-designate, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who flew to the state capital, Malakal, on Sunday to attend the burial ceremony, said Adwok was “a great leader…our father and leader for the whole South and the whole Sudan.”
He narrated the political history of late Adwok, saying he might go down in the history of Sudan as the first Southern Sudanese to rule the whole of Sudan.
His body was accompanied from Khartoum by a number of veteran leaders
among them included Abel Alier and Joseph Lagu. The leadership of Upper Nile state government and the Prince of the Shilluk Kingdom were also present.
Dr. Machar said he was saddened by the death of “this great leader” before he could see the day the South votes in the referendum on independence.
“We would have wanted them [veteran leaders] to see the day the South votes in the referendum…God knows what he does…there are those who will see the day and those that will not. Unfortunately, our father has become one of them,” he told the gathering.
Uncle Adwok, who is from the Shilluk ethnic group, was over 90 years old when he died and is survived by dozens of his sons and daughters.