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Correction: South Sudan declares three-day mourning for crash victims


Please note that the crashed plane was a "South Sudan Air Connection" service plane. I didn’t belong to "Delta Connection" as it was initially reported by Sudan Tribune in this article.

By Isaac Vuni

May 2, 2008 (JUBA) — Sudanese First Vice President and President of southern Sudan government, Salav Kiir Mayadrit confirmed the death of two high-ranking official in a plane crash and declared three-day national mourning in Southern Sudan.

JPEG - 10.3 kb
A Beech - 1900

The government of Southern Sudan Minister for Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) Affairs, Lt. General Dominic Dim died Friday in a plane crash, 25 miles from Wau town en route to Rumbek.

On board was Dr Justin Yac Arop, GoSS presidential Adviser for Decentralization who also perished along with other 21 passengers including the two crewmembers.

Announcing the tragic news to the masses of Southern Sudan today evening in a press briefing at Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly premises, the First Vice President of the Republic and President of the government of Southern Sudan, Lt. Gen. Saliva Kiir Mayardit said Minister Dominic Dim together Dr. Justine Yac Arop died in a plane crash at 10.10 am after their plane took off from Wau Airport heading for Rumbek to pick Lt. General Oyai Deng Ajak en route to Juba.

President Kiir said the two prominent members of SPLM died together with their beloved wives accompanied them after completion of SPLM state congress in Wau.

He stated the plane crashed after reaching about 25 miles from Rumbek was carrying 21 passengers including the crews, all died. The two engine of the plane failed; hence there was nothing the pilot could do after he has informed the control tower of the engine failure.

The crashed plane was provided by Cem Air a South African company and operated by Flex air in Kenya. It was a South Sudan Air Connection service at the time of the crash.

On board were the wife of SPLA Affairs minister, Mrs. Josephine Apio and the wife of Dr. Justine Yac, Mrs. Elizabeth Agwet. Others were Rt. Big. Dunatu Dau Manyak, Mr. Deng Ajak of Kush Institution, John Awuko, Major, Galuak Gwok, Malong Dwok, private secretary of minister, 2n Lt. Chol body guard of the minister, Mr. Mangok Andrea, Moses Akol Ayen Akol, Lt. Col. Machol Lweth, cameraman, private Mangong Garang, Private Daniel Abyei, Private Dim Koul Dim, Mr. Zakaria of signalist in the minister’s office, two female identified bodies plus the two crewmembers.

They had gone to attend SPLM congresses at the state levels and were returning to Juba via Rumbek after completion of their mission. The two engine failed thence there was nothing the pilot could do after he has informed the control tower of the engine problems.

Gabriel Changson, Southern Sudan government spokesperson and minister of information said in a press statement that the plane was ancient and that might caused the crash of the aircraft.

Further, a statement from the Civil Aviation Corporation in Khartoum said the crashed plane was a Beech 1900 registered in Kenya.

The statement indicated that the plane was in a flight from Wau to Juba, and near Rumbek town the captain contacted Rumbek airport tower about an engine fault calling for landing permit due to his inability to resume the trip.

However the plane crashed and burned before reaching Rumbek airport, a matter which caused the death of all the 19 passengers and the two-person crew, the civil aviation said.


"We have gone through so many of this events and this would not be the first time for us to receive such news." Salva Kiir said.

"Although it’s a very painful lost, I ask all of you to be strong in the face of this tragic day, we have to continue with the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement." He added.

"What has happened has happen and we have to continue with the struggle". Salva Kiir underlined. Adding that, "when the first tragic incident happened in 2005 were the chairman of the SPLM and the First vice president of the Republic and President of the government of South Sudan, Dr. John Garang de Mabior died in a plane crash, whole world expected disintegration of the people of southern Sudan but with courage commitment and dedication to the cause of the people of southern Sudan, they managed to continue with the struggle to the present."

Kiir said UNMIS has sent their copters at the site and managed to recover the bodies of all passengers who were burned beyond recognition and are fling the bodies to Rumbek and later the bodies of the two prominent SPLM members will be flown to Juba tomorrow morning in accompany Lt. Gen Oyai Deng Ajak.

President Kiir extend sincere condolences to the bereaved families and declared three days national mourning in Southern Sudan starting from tomorrow 3rd to 5th May 2008.

In Khartoum, the Sudanese presidency also issued a statement extending condolences to their families and to the government of southern Sudan.

In telephone call to Vice President Salva Kiir President Omer al-Bashir convoyed his deepest condolences to the government of southern Sudan.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Sudan, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, has conveyed his condolences to the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) on today’s tragic plane crash. He also offered deepest sympathy on behalf of the United Nations and UNMIS to the bereaved families of the crash victims.

On hearing the tragic news, the Governor of Central Equatoria State, Clement Wani Konga put on halt the state congress that kick off today morning and he together with delegates’ went to pay their condolences to the brief families.


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 3 May 2008 06:35, by doot

    It is just hard to lost twenty one of

    them at this crucial moment.It is a

    second sadest incident in the twenty

    century and history of south sudan .

    It is very excruciating fate to be

    just expressed in the simple

    language. they have just gone. we

    missed them in the time we needed

    them. they have just been with us

    in the last twenty four hours doing

    the job . their memories are just

    still fresh in us. however , my

    deepest sorrow and condolences goes

    to the families and friends of this

    beloved sons and daughters of

    south sudan to take courage and wash

    the tear in their eyes .

    Their role and contribution in the

    movement has opened the pathway to

    the democratic process not only in

    south sudan but also in farnorth ,

    fareast ,and farwest of the country.

    May their souls rest in peace.

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    • 3 May 2008 07:20, by Akau Malek

      we are always undergoing these kinds of tragedies one after another. My condolence again goes to the families of the deceased and to the whole south sudanese community. We are used to it but i need to acknowledge the pain it has caused to us. I realised the fact that southerners are always united when something of this kind happened and we need to continue with that because our enemies are watching how we dealing with these tormenting situations.
      Akau Indeed these are our great great heroes and their contributions in the quest for our freedom are undeniedable and can’t be forgotten. However, our Aviation authority needs to be aware of those incidents and must take immediate actions to avoid further lost of our beloved leaders and great sons of our great southern sudan. May thier souls rest in peace.

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      • 3 May 2008 13:20, by Mabior Ayuen Dengajok

        We are always in tears and wretchedness since independent 1950s and in the birth of Sudan People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) that was formed in 16 may 1983.
        Nevertheless, everyone has been in struggle and its same long struggle for people of South Sudan, as today again we have heard a very very tragic death of two Very important persons (VIP) and the key role for our south Sudan freedom movement.

        Comparable to the death of our great hero Dr John Garang De Mabior that occurred last two years, once again my condolences goes to the families of beloved people in the planes crashed and generally the whole South Sudan.

        We must calm jointly and hold our tears, not to give any room to our haters’, despite the long struggle of any temptation of any kind, we must remain in unity not to give up.
        "Unity never defeated"

        By Mabior Ayuen Dengajok

        View online : Death of two important minister of South Sudan

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        • 3 May 2008 15:02, by mohamed biajo momanga

          My deepest sorrow and condolences goes to the families and friends of these beloved sons & daughters of South Sudan, and I ask them to take courage and stay solid against this hard blow so that not to give chance to our enemies to break our unity.

          By; Mohamed Biajo Momanga.

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  • 3 May 2008 17:12, by Deng Chol Malual


    you are
    highily honoured on your stand toward this tragedy.

    With this reccuring incidents, my point of view is as below.

    There is that believe,"History repeat itself" which is widely accepted.
    And therefore, for the history not to repeat itself unless a solution to that event is well device/plan for.

    For example during the September 11 terror attack on Americans.The first thing the American government did was to ensure that security Department was checked,put on alert internally before outside focus.I believe that solution stop that terror history from repeating itself.

    Now here in Southern Sudan similar thing has to be done for such (plane crush & simmilar death threat)history to be erradicated.Or else it will be reccuring.

    Let hope for successful liberalisation of this land and she will pay back now and through coming generations.


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  • 3 May 2008 17:18, by Deng Chol Malual


    you are
    highily honoured on your stand toward this tragedy.

    With this reccuring incidents, my point of view is as below.

    There is that believe,"History repeat itself" which is widely accepted.
    And therefore, for the history not to repeat itself unless a solution to that event is well device/plan for.

    For example during the September 11 terror attack on Americans.The first thing the American government did was to ensure that security Department was checked,put on alert internally before outside focus.I believe that solution stop that terror history from repeating itself.

    Now here in Southern Sudan similar thing has to be done for such (plane crush & simmilar death threat)history to be erradicated.Or else it will be reccuring.

    Let hope for successful liberalisation of this land and she will pay back now and through coming generations.


    repondre message

    • 3 May 2008 17:47, by Deng Chol Malual

      Dear readers.
      I apologise for the inconvenience cause to you (public), for repeating the above message.It was by mistake.
      Forgive me.
      Thank you.

      repondre message

  • 3 May 2008 18:02, by John Apadieer

    Dear H.E. President Salva,

    Your call on the Southerners to remain strong in the face of the recurrent tragic events that claimed the lives of our herioc liberators was an ideal statement. However, your excellency, I would like to comment that your call, though important is not enough to curb this eliminating factors of the Southern leaders. You need to tell the public how your government is going to deal with ruthless and subsequent killings of leaders by aireoplanes. The signing of CPA by NCP and Islamic Khartoum based arabs Government was never mere intention to bring the war torn country, Sudan to a peaceful state,but rather it was a meticulous political plan on how to monitor SPLM/A leaders such that they implement their political elimination and extermination of Southern leaders. It was difficult for NIF to get Southern intellectuals and politicans when they were in the bushes as rebels.

    Your excellency, just to substantiate the genuineness of this claim, I would like to bring to the light the evidence of the ill-plans by NCP aganist the South. Following are the twelve resolutions arrived at the meeting held in Khartoum, Chaired by President Omar Hassan el Bashir and Dr.Hassan el Turbi as a secretary:-

    1.all education system curriculum and syllabus should be Arabized and Islamized.
    2. Arabic language and Islamic Religion is the only language and religion to be practised in the whole of Sudan.
    3. The education system has to change in the order of two years khalwa and six years priority in the content of Islamic and Arabic doctrine.
    4.For any student to attend Sudan School certificate exams,he/she must obtain Sudan Nationality card that could only be issued in Khatoum.
    5.For a student to enter unversity, he/she should have been trained and served for two years in the army.
    6. For any body/student to be recognized, as eligible Sudanese, he/she must obtain Sudan Nationality card that should be approved by five persons of known origin by the government.
    7. The South Sudan has been the obstacle to the spread of Islam and Arab doctrine in the Heart of Africa. Therefore, any person from the South Sudan that is opposed to these resolutions should be treated accordingly with either loss of their lives or life imprisonment.
    8. Elimination of South Sudanese intellectuals and politicians. Unless Arabized and Islamized. Key government positions be denied to Southern Sudanese.
    9. That the land in South Sudan is so fertile and it can economically support spread of Islam into the Heart of Africa up to South. Any resistance in South will be dealt with by use of weapons to clear everybody in the South.
    10. Any person preaching other religion other than Islam should be condemned to death under Sharia.
    11. Universities should be opened in all the states with Arabic curriculum and Islamic doctrine to speed up the spread of Islam.
    12.Implementation of these resolutions should be by Islamic organizations through provision of Relief and social services ( Education, Health, water,etc).

    Your excellency, even though it is an illiterate civilian of South Sudan,just a glimpse to these twelve resolutions justified and verified by these rampant planes crashes that indiscriminately killed southern intellectuals and politicians,would make this very illiterate civilian to be more vigilant and more prepared for any risky eventualities.I know His Excellency, that you and your government will ignore this crucial piece of information on no single ground because the GOSS is already infiltrated and filled with NCP/NIF southern political stooges who so much vowed their nationalistic allegiance to Arab invaders who want to exterminate all of the Southern population through various politically disguised methods. More Southern Sudanese students who happened to study in the North during the war, were mercilessly conscripted into the Army and sent to the South to fight and kill their own fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters on condition of getting education oppotunities to higher learning institutions.More than two millions Southerners were killed during the war, houses burnt, cattle and other resources raided and looted,and women and children abducted and extremely enslaved in the North hitherto. More Southern refugees are being denied repatriation chances just to deliberately lower the population that will negatively impact on the equitable resoucres distribution and the upcoming elections in 2009. Another ethnic cleansing and genocicde is currently underway in Darfur. The very motive of Arabs and their successive Khartoum based goverments is to wipe out any African Sudanese who did not and will not bear any allegiance to them. And even those who are currently loyal to Khartoum will inevitably be exterminated as the last resort once the directly opposing population is wiped out such that Sudan is purely made to be and will only remain to be an absolute Arabs country. And they will eventually say,hura! we have achieved our goal and then they will restrategise and proceed to the Heart of Africa and further South as stated in the twelve resolutions.

    Come on African countries! The war we have fought and will continue to fight is never merely a civil war but it is all Arabs countries that are fighting the South Sudan in the name of a civil war.Alas! we will give in or get wiped out and they come to invade your territories! So brothers and sisters, join us so that we repel the intruders who want to grab more African lands.

    Therefore,His Excellecy, I want you to implement all the following actions:
    1.Unilateral Declaration of Independence as soon as possible.we will push whatever reaction to UDI through other means.
    2. Purchase of Southern Goverment Presidential jets and reclamation of most qualified Southern Sudan pilots from the Diasporas, one of them being Makogo Ahang, the son of Late Dr. Ahang Beny.
    3. Avoidance of using the same plane by a number of top Southern Sudan leadership.
    4. Strengthening the security situation in the South Sudan and beyond.

    Never again, His Excellency, can the South hear and tolerate such an outcome of tragic event and moment. We will violently react and then you come in with your skills to settle the problem thereof. Moreover, we need to be told within the shortest time possible on the root causes of the plane crash that killed Defence Minister,Dominic Dim Deng and Hon. Dr,Justin Yash Arop with their families and other officers on board.

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  • 3 May 2008 18:19, by Chol K.Thon

    I send my condolences to the bereaved families in general and in particular the daughter of the late Dr. Justin Yach Arop, Susan Abuk whom I met lately,a few minutes before the demise of both parents. I am trying to underscore how hard it is for these families and of course everyone else to come to terms with the news of this tragedy. But this is as fate would have it. The loss of these two great men has left a vacuum never to be sufficiently filled by any other.

    On a rather different note I take Honarable Chang Changson for his word that the ill-fated plane was an old one. This same truth is reminiscent of the 2005 crash. Immediately after the accident there emerged speculation that the so-called president Musevenis jet had just been brought back from Russia where it was taken for refurbishment. By far the jet was old.But this can be excused because by then we were not fully established on our feet.Now that we have a government, a fact which implies that we are able to purchase brand new planes or else hire from trusted airliners,why are we still depending on almost engineless flying scrapes? Maybe the conduct of those taking care of our nation as a trust is preventing us from doing this.But allow me to pose these questions: How long are we going to be hiring experts to dig into the circumstances surrounding a plane crash when later or sooner they will force us to believe the their pronouncement that an error on the part of the pilot was to blame? Do we know that it may be a span of three years before hearing of another crash?

    May God Almighty rest the souls of our departed heros and heroins in eternal peace

    May He comfort the bereaved families and our entire nation

    God save South Sudan

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  • 3 May 2008 21:37, by John Mayor Rin

    Dear .Sudanese First Vice President and President of southern Sudan government, Salav Kiir Mayadrit
    I would like to ask government of Southern Sudan wether this air craff are clear to operate in south.we should stop jumping to any plane if it is like that ,we have lost very big people in south .that southern sudan air conection should be check .Lt. General Dominic Dim and Dr Justin Yac Arop should not decid like that

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  • 4 May 2008 02:04, by chomwalimu


    By:Chol Dhoor Riak.jR,

    We in Southern Sudan, and in Diasporas mourned in deep sorrow for our beloved and fallen heroes who have perished in the merciless plane crash.. We are hereby sending our heart felt condolences to the family members, relatives and friends of the deceased to remain calm and strong for the loss has placed heavy impact on us all. We have lost these wonderful men and women who have charted the course that destined us to what we called the government of Southern Sudan where they left us in time when we need them most.

    If death was personated or personated and ask to justify its frequency in claiming lives in South Sudan through plane crash, we wouldn’t be surprise to hear its version denying its intends. When I heard the news “ 23 people killed in the plane crash”, I was saddened and my hope was shattered, and stranded to believe this tragic death. This rate of crash is alarming and will continue to raise concerns that might shake our identity as southerners.

    We must learn from day to day happenings to avoid the tragedy of uncertainty in the future .The lesson to be learn include new policies that will spell out clear safety measures to be implemented by Aviation industry in the south. We cannot guarantee absolute safety, but that incremental effort is worth trying to make Aviation safety close to expected standard.

    The Aviation laws will be a both side commitment between the government of Southern Sudan and Private plane organizations operating in areas geographically defined to be in Southern Sudan to fully stay on the task of all time safety alerts. These provisions will require government run and private owned planes to provide documentations of inspections, certified pilots and maintenance engineers. Some planes are out of date of inspection and are not air worthy. This stipulation will also include Standard communication equipments both in planes and in watching towers to ensure uninterrupted coordination between all flying planes and monitoring towers.

    A footprint of a prey signaled incoming potential danger Today, Tomorrow and may be in the near future. . So I asked, for how long shall we wait to compromise a potential tragedy? Just to digress a little, if we were to study the short statistic from former First president of government of South Sudan Dr. John Garang De Mabior plane crash to Demonic Deng and Justin Yaac Arop plane crash, then there should be no further delays in stepping up a full scale review of laws governing of our air transport system.

    Even if these regulations are 100% ensured by all private planes, the equations will remain a complex Calculus to realize its expectations unless our young born Government allocate special plans to reexamine locations of our operating planes, and Airstrips or Airports. An Airport location is strategic and should be located at the out skirt of the city with distanced multiple fences away from the landing point. Secondly, the security will not be complete unless our government invests heavily to train our airports | airstrips security personnels to equipped them with skills that will ensure sufficient screening of people going in and out of the Airport or Airstrips.

    Finally, dear citizens, we the people of Southern Sudan will always remain in fear should we allow outdated planes to operates in our areas. We cannot afford to see ourselves in two different sides of mirror when dealing with issues of concerns. We are in time where we need not to make more mistakes because we are almost there! We are almost there! and together we shall get there together!

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