BY DAN FRANK
THE HEAD of the Catholic Church in Sudan has called for calm in the war-torn country’s capital, where around 150 people have been killed and as many as a 1,000 injured in riots sparked by the death of the newly sworn-in vice-president, Dr John Garang.
Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako, Archbishop of Khartoum, praised Dr Garang, a former rebel commander, for brokering a landmark cease-fire in January between the northern Muslim government and Christian and animist rebels of the south. He called on the rioters to end the violence out of respect for the president and the late Dr Garang.
“[Dr Garang] came to us with a message of peace and hope for all the Sudanese,” he said. “I am sure all of you remember Dr Garang’s words, words full of conviction and clarity: ‘No more war; peace has come to stay... It is a Sudan in which all the Sudanese will live and work together for a better and happier future... a Sudan that cares for its people, especially the poorest, the weakest and the most abandoned of them.’” Dr Garang was killed on July 30 when his helicopter crashed as he returned to southern Sudan from Kampala, the capital of Uganda, following a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni. Violent demonstrations flared up almost immediately in Khartoum, where police have struggled to maintain order.