- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2005

Warning in Sudan

The U.S. Embassy in Sudan is urging Americans there to beware of “potential danger” in the capital, Khartoum, as the Sudanese government prepares for tomorrow’s funeral of John Garang, the vice president and former rebel leader whose death last week sparked deadly riots.

In Washington, the chief of the Sudanese Embassy said diplomats here are in mourning and called Mr. Garang’s death “a tragedy for the nation.”

Clashes have rocked Khartoum since Monday, after news that Mr. Garang and 13 associates died in a helicopter crash on Saturday. The death toll in the capital was 111 on Wednesday, with 300 injured. The casualties nationwide were 130 dead and 350 wounded.

“A volatile situation has developed throughout Sudan, following the death of First Vice President John Garang,” the U.S. Embassy said this week.

“There have been reports of sporadic and unpredictable violence in and around Khartoum and southern Sudan. The embassy wishes to advise American citizens of the potential danger that exists when moving about the city during this time and to exercise caution should travel become necessary.”

The embassy urged Americans to obey a daily curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. imposed by the Sudanese government.

Mr. Garang recently signed a peace treaty with the government, ending 21 years of civil war between his Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement, which represented Christians and animists in the south, and the Muslim-dominated government in Khartoum. Under the agreement, he was appointed first vice president, and the south was guaranteed half of the country’s oil revenues.

President Omar el-Bashir, who has ordered an investigation into the crash, plans to attend the funeral in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan.

In Washington, Khidir Haroun Ahmed, the charge d’affaires at the Sudanese Embassy, said, “John Garang had been embraced by the Sudanese people as a peacemaker and first vice president in the Government of National Unity that was in the process of being implemented since July 9.

“We will press ahead to ensure that [Mr.] Garang’s legacy is one of peace, unity and development.”

Bangladeshi killings

The U.S. Embassy in Bangladesh fears that the recent slaying of two Bangladeshi Christian charity workers were religious hate crimes and is calling for the killers to face justice “lawfully and promptly.”

Tapan Kumar Roy and Liplal Marandi, who worked for the Christian Life Bangladesh organization, were hacked to death last week at their home in the central Faridpur district.

The embassy said yesterday, “Because of the circumstances surrounding their murder, we are concerned [they] may be victims of religious extremism.

“We understand that police have arrested three persons in connection with this case, and we hope that the perpetrators of the murders will be brought to justice lawfully and promptly.”

The embassy noted that Bangladesh, a moderate Muslim nation, guarantees religious freedom.

“It is important that government and civil society work effectively to safeguard this important, fundamental right,” the embassy said.

Make it Jamaica

The Jamaican Embassy plans to show off the food and culture of its Caribbean nation on Sunday on the grounds of the Organization of American States.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, “will feature a broad array of Jamaican food, with several chefs and culinary experts on hand from Jamaica, who will prepare a range of Jamaican delicacies right in front of the attending audience,” said embassy spokesman O’Neil Hamilton.

He added that the embassy also expects diplomats from other Caribbean nations to attend the celebration from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the OAS headquarters at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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