Home | News    Tuesday 2 August 2005

S. African FM heads to Sudan to appeal for calm

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PRETORIA, Aug 2, 2005 (AP) — South Africa’s foreign minister canceled a trip to Gabon and headed to Sudan Tuesday to appeal for calm after rioting broke out after the death of Sudanese vice president and former southern rebel leader John Garang.

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Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who chairs the African Union’s Committee on Post-Conflict Reconstruction of the War-Affected Areas in Sudan, will use the trip to urge all parties to "maintain restraint and recommit to peace," said her spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa.

It will also be an opportunity to convey South African President Thabo Mbeki’s condolences to Sudanese leaders "during these trying moments of grief and bereavement," he said.

Garang was among 14 people killed Saturday when a helicopter crashed into a mountain in southern Sudan in bad weather.

His supporters from the Christian and animist south blamed the crash on Sudan’s Muslim-dominated government and took to the streets in the capital Khartoum Monday. But both northerners and southerners reportedly staged attacks Tuesday after a quiet morning.

Both the government and Garang’s own Sudan People’s Liberation Movement said his death was an accident and dismissed talk of a plot as they sought to keep alive a fragile peace deal Garang championed.

Garang became the country’s first vice president last month as part of the U.S.-backed accord that ended a two-decade civil war between his southern rebel force and the army of Sudan’s northern-based government.

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