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Chaos on Khartoum airport tarmac as Sudanese singer’s body arrives home

January 17, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities briefly suspended landing and takeoff at Khartoum International Airport on Thursday following a breach of the tarmac by mourners of singer Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz who passed away at a hospital in Jordan yesterday.

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Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz

The situation got so chaotic as confusion prevailed over the arrival time of the private chartered plane carrying his body. Some of the crowd hovered around several planes thinking it contained his coffin.

Police eventually managed to disperse the gathering inside the runway after using tear gas. There were also limited clashes between the police and mourners at the nearby airport street.

The director of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) had ordered a plane dispatched to Amman to bring home the late singer’s body who died from complications of stomach ulcers. He was a declared clinically dead a day before.

Thousands of hysterical fans flocked to Abdel-Aziz’s home in Khartoum to express their sadness amid scenes of loud weeping while some passed out.

Government and opposition leaders alike mourned the 44-years old singer calling him an iconic figure in the history of Sudanese music.

Abdel-Aziz appealed immensely not only to the younger generations but also to older ones who enjoyed his voice which was labeled as unique by music critics.

Singer Abdel Gadir Salem described Abdel-Aziz as an exceptional artist "who will not be repeated" in the history of music in Sudan adding that the events today were a testimony to his popularity and love he enjoyed among ordinary Sudanese.

Abdel-Aziz was born in 1967 Khartoum to a middle class family and began to demonstrate artistic capabilities at a young age.

He initially started as an actor but in the late 80’s he launched his music career with the help of established singers including Salah Iban al-Badiya. His first album was released in 1994 and his subsequent ones were record selling.

(ST)