John Garang was assassinated, says widow

Publié le par hort

Sudan: Garang Was Assassinated, Says Widow

New Vision (Kampala)

18 June 2007
Posted to the web 19 June 2007

Felix Osike and Reuben Olita

THE death of Sudan's First Vice President, Dr John Garang de Mabior in July 2005 in a plane crash took a new twist at the weekend with the widow claiming that her husband was  assassinated.

Rebecca Nyadeng Garang stunned Kenya Television Network viewers on Sunday night when she said that she knew right from the time the death was announced that her husband had been killed, but she did not say so for fear of the consequences.She was speaking at the Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi during a ceremony to posthumously honour her husband who was awarded at the Annual Uhuru Award, organised by the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation.

"When my husband died, I did not come out openly and say my husband was killed because I knew the onsequences. But at the back of my heart, I knew my husband was assassinated," she stated. Garang's death sparked violence between northern and southern Sudanese, leaving at least 130 people dead and prompting Khartoum to form a national committee to probe the crash with international experts.

U.S, Russian and Kenyan investigators, in a report on April 18, 2006, blamed the crash on pilot error due to bad weather, works and transport minister John Nasasira told The New Vision yesterday. When we issued the report, we said Uganda would continue with the investigations. We did not close investigations. We haven't found any further evidence. Should there be any other clues we shall continue with the investigations."

Garang and 13 others on board, seven of them Ugandans, perished in the accident on July 30, 2005 in South Sudan. The Uganda presidential Mi-172 helicopter was taking Garang back home after talks with President Yoweri Museveni at his country home in Rwakitura. Mrs. Garang, who is also the South Sudan roads and transport minister, said she had taken two years to unravel the mystery surrounding her husband's death for the sake of the general stability of the region.

Families of the five Sudanese soldiers, who died in the crash, were in March this year compensated by the insurers of the aircraft. The National Insurance Corporation (NIC) paid 1.25 million U.S dollars as compensation to the families of the five victims. NIC also paid the Ugandan government 3.6 million dollars in compensation for the aircraft and 1.75 million dollars to the families of the seven Ugandans who perished in the crash, bringing the total compensation to 6.36 million dollars. Consultations are ongoing with the NIC to work out a compensation package for Garang's family.

A week after the former rebel leader died, Museveni said the crash may not not have been an accident but "something else."

Mrs. Garang asserted that her husband left behind a vision greater than himself, adding that the struggle to liberate Sudan would continue. She thanked the foundation for honoring the man who attained the status of a legend in the protracted struggle to liberate southern Sudan from the oppression of Khartoum. Rebecca said she had previously wondered why no African was honoring him like the western nations. "He was only honoured in the West. Today I see Africans have woken up." Narrating the struggle, she said her husband supported her vision to see a free southern Sudan. "I joined my husband in the struggle because I was not an alien in that country (Sudan). I was a southern Sudanese. Dr Garang was a good man, he did not try to frustrate me from my vision of liberating  Southern  Sudanese."The mother of six called for visionary leadership and urged women to acknowledge each other's achievements.

Excerpts of the Interview

KTN: The death of John Garang in July 2005 still raises controversy and many questions.

Rebecca Garang: When my husband died I did not come out openly and said that my husband was killed because I knew the consequences but at the depth of my heart I knew my husband  was assassinated.

KTN: Garang was returning to Sudan from Rwakitura area in Uganda following talks with President Museveni. Soon his helicopter crashed under circumstances described as bad weather conditions.

Rebecca Garang: Those who are culprits of this problem let me warn you. When you kill a lion you always know what the lioness can do. I swallowed my pride but I knew during the period, I said I will mourn my husband only if the vision is dead.

Publié dans contemporary africa

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