Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Spotlight on Darfur 1 and The Darfur Collection

Last May, Catez Stevens at Allthings2all in New Zealand kindly put together The Darfur Collection.

Now, Catez is initiating and hosting Spotlight on Darfur 1 starting September 1. It will feature posts on the current Darfur situation from various bloggers. If you are a blogger and would like to send in a post for inclusion in the Spotlight on Darfur please email Catez for details.

Eugene Oregon at Coalition for Darfur helpfully writes Reminder: Spotlight on Darfur 1.

Note, Catez is planning a regular series of Spotlight on Darfur. If you have missed Darfur 1, there is still plenty of time to prepare a post for Spotlight on Darfur 2 or 3 or 4 ...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Uganda, UNHCR struggle with refugee predicament

Report at China's People's Daily Online, August 30, 2005:

The Ugandan government and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are struggling to cope with the increasing number of refugees in the east African country.

UNHCR officials told journalists at their office in Kampala last Friday that the UN agency is facing some difficulties in handling the refugee situation in Uganda.

Uganda is host to about 230,000 registered refugees from neighboring countries. Of them 188,000 are from Sudan, 20,000 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 18,000 from Rwanda and 4,000 from other countries. There are also some 40,000 refugees who are not registered within the UNHCR.

There are 68 refugee settlement camps in the country.

It is this vast population of refugees that is making it hard for the Ugandan government as well as the UNHCR to operate.

Uganda's Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Moses Ali, recently said that his ministry continues to face the problem of the ever-dwindling resources for the implementation of refugee programs.

The UNHCR has also started facing funding problems. According to Snezana Sazdic, a UNHCR official in Kampala, the agency's overall budget has been cut to about 92.5 percent.

Currently in Uganda, the UNHCR has suspended funding income- generating units of refugees. The funding of environmental management programs in the refugee settlement areas have also been halted due to lack of resources.

It should be noted that over 90 percent of the refugees in Uganda make their living by farming. Therefore these refugees will have to depend on food handouts from humanitarian agencies after their land being degraded since they have no alternative.

INFLUX OF REFUGEES

More conflicts in the region have led to the continuous influx of refugees into Uganda.

Many Congolese continue to flee eastern DRC because of the conflicts between militia groups. Recently, hundreds crossed the border to Uganda after the Mai Mai militia dislodged the DRC-Goma rebels from their bases.

In recent months, hundreds of refugees have fled Rwanda claiming that they are persecuted.

According to UNHCR, all the Rwandese refugees were supposed to be repatriated by mid last June but the whole process was stalled with only 1,500 having been voluntarily repatriated.

Also in recent months, thousands of Sudanese crossed from southern Sudan to northern Uganda, claiming that the security situation there was not safe for them. Some said that the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels fighting the Uganda government attacked their communities.

The LRA have their bases in southern Sudan from where they launch attacks against the Ugandan government.

According to UNHCR, about 6,000 Sudanese are expected to be repatriated by the end of 2005. UNHCR officials say that many Sudanese in Uganda are willing to go back home provided certain infrastructure is in place.

CHALLENGES FROM INSIDE

In hosting refugees, the Ugandan government continues to face some challenges from inside.

Recently there were conflicts between the locals and the refugees. The local community complained of government giving the land to refugees and yet some Ugandans do not have land.

Last year, there were also reports of local politicians encroaching and grabbing land allocated to the refugees.

Minister Moses Ali warned that the government is going to crack down on these politicians.

The government and the UNHCR also face a problem of the unfavorable security situation in northern Uganda. The region has for the last 19 years faced a rebellion by LRA rebels. There have been some targeted attacks by the LRA on refugee settlements in which a number of refugees died.

In 2002, the LRA attacked one of the refugee settlements in northern Uganda, killing many Sudanese refugees, which forced the government to resettle the refugees to another part of the country.

WAY OUT

Though Uganda may be facing some hard time in addressing the refugee situation, there are some indicators showing that at least some work has been done.

The Ugandan government has now finalized with the refugee bill, which has been submitted to parliament for approval. It is expected that the bill will strengthen the mechanisms to protect refugees and bring Uganda's refugee policy in conformity with international law.

The Ugandan government with assistance from donors has integrated refugee issues on the development agenda by adopting a framework of Development Assistance for Refugees (DAR).

DAR is a development program that is intended to help refugee- hosting districts cope with the impact of refugees by being dedicated to the improvement of social conditions in the hosting communities.

In 1999, the Uganda government and the UNHCR initiated the Self Reliance Strategy, under which residential and agricultural land has been allocated to the refugees.

Service delivery systems such as education and health have been integrated. For instance, the UNHCR sponsors the university education of some Sudanese refugees. The refugees are also given agricultural implements and seeds so that they can ensure self reliance on the food they grew by themselves.

Source: Xinhua

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Twenty New Camps to be Created in Pader District

Michael at Uganda-CAN August 26, 2005 reveals:

Twenty New Camps to be Created in Pader District:
Uganda's New Vision reports that the government representative in Pader District--currently the district in northern Uganda most devastated by the war--has announced that twenty new camps for Ugandans displaced by the conflict are to be created.

Resident District Commissioner of Pader Sylvester Opira noted that construction of new camps would relieve congestion in existing camps, allow displaced people to move closer to their homes to harvest food on their land, and dispel ideas that the Government of Uganda hopes to seize the lands for its own use or profit.

Uganda-CAN is currently exploring prospects for complete dismantling of the camps. Civil conflicts in Uganda's past have all been dealt with without needing to confine locals to camps, and conditions in the camps breed disease and despair. It is unclear what the implications for civilian protection and peacebuilding would be if such a move were made.

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Over 6,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda to be repatriated

Over 6,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda are to be repatriated, says report at ReliefWeb Aug 26.

Note, currently, there are over 188,000 Sudanese refugees in Uganda. The Sudanese refugees take the biggest percentage of the 230,000 refugees in Uganda. Other refugees in the east African country are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and others.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Lancet publishes research on sleeping sickness by Eric Fevre, University of Edinburgh

Note in this report by AFP about an epidemic of sleeping sickness spreading in Uganda, how a bite on a human by a blood-sucking tsetse fly carrying the Trypanosoma parasite from cattle to humans, initially causes fever, exhaustion and aching muscles and joints, leading within weeks or months to progressive confusion, personality changes and seizures as the infection invades the central nervous system. Sounds familiar. I've heard of similar symptoms emerging as a result of tick (Lyme disease) and spider bites here in England. The report posted at Sudan Tribune is copied here in full for future reference.

Aug 26, 2005 (AFP Paris) - A five-year-old effort to curb sleeping sickness in part of southern Uganda has failed, according to a study that says the dangerous epidemic has now spread to other districts.

Sleeping sickness, a potentially fatal disease if not tackled in its early stages, is caused by the Trypanosoma parasite, transmitted from cattle to humans by the blood-sucking tsetse fly.

In 2000, the authorities in Soroti district, southern Uganda, launched a control programme, dosing cattle with long-acting drugs to kill the parasite, after tests showed that as much as 18 percent of local herds were carrying the parasite.

But the latest study, based on blood tests carried out in the area in April 2004, shows that the main parasite strain is present in 22 percent of local cattle and similar infection rates occur among cattle in three villages just outside the intervention area.

In addition, infections have been reported in the district of Kaberamaido, potentially putting another 133,000 people at risk, and in the southern part of Lira district.

An especial worry is that the spreading epidemic could eventually overlap with another epidemic of sleeping sickness which is unfolding in Uganda's northwest and in southern Sudan.

The two epidemics are caused by different parasites that need different diagnostic tools and drugs, so an overlap would greatly add to treatment costs.

The research, which appears in this Saturday's issue of the British weekly The Lancet, is lead-authored by Eric Fevre of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

His team reckons that 428 cases of sleeping sickness were diagnosed in Soroti over the five-year period, but as many as 300 more may have gone unspotted.

Fevre blames livestock movements, abetted by instability in southern Uganda, as the cause for the failure in Soroti.

In East Africa, sleeping sickness is endemic to parts of Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia as well as Uganda.

The parasite initially causes fever, exhaustion and aching muscles and joints, leading within weeks or months to progressive confusion, personality changes and seizures as the infection invades the central nervous system.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Uganda 'mismanaging' Aids money - Uganda to expel DR Congo rebels

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has suspended its grants to Uganda because of "serious mismanagement" of funds.

An investigation carried out for the Global Fund said it found a shortfall when grants in dollars were converted into Ugandan shillings.

Full story at BBC Aug 24, 2005.
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Uganda to expel DR Congo rebels

Uganda has announced it will expel six rebels from Democratic Republic of Congo after the UN voiced its concern over their presence in the county.

Uganda's internal affairs minister said the men had been declared persona non grata and must leave by Thursday.

The six are part of a group the UN says planned to use Uganda to launch a rebel movement to seize power in DR Congo.

UN Security Council resolutions oblige Uganda to prevent its territory from being used by regional armed groups.

[Why is there not such a resolution for Sudan?]

Full story at BBC Aug 24, 2005.

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

More attacks on press freedom in East Africa

Note Ethan's post on Ethiopia and Uganda concerning more attacks on press freedom in East Africa.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Uganda: Fight for Souls: Christians Take On Witchdoctors in Kawempe

Just as I got to thinking about how too many Africans believe in hocus pocus, I came across Steven's post about an article on Uganda at AllAfrica saying Christians Take On Witchdoctors in Kawempe. Excerpt:
"Dr." Moses Kiwanda is one of the most recognised witchdoctors in Kawempe Division and he has no qualms revealing their strategy.

Kiwanda says that the witchdoctors see the church - specifically the Born Agains - as opponents that must be fought.

He intimates that they too will in the near future begin holding public gatherings to preach their message, very much similar to the gospel crusades that the Born again churches are famed for.

"And we shall also go from door to door telling people what we can do, just like these Born Agains are doing" he says.
How sad.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

25 LRA rebels killed - Kony to be indicted for war crimes

A report by Reuters today says war crimes indictments for Kony and five of his top officers are expected to be issued soon by the International Criminal Court. Excerpt:
Ugandan troops backed by helicopter gunships killed at least 25 rebels in separate clashes on both sides of the border with southern Sudan, the Ugandan army said on Wednesday.

The military attacked Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fighters in northern Uganda's Kitgum district on Monday, army spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Shaban Bantariza said, and again on Wednesday in Sudan's lawless Imatong Mountains.

"This afternoon in southern Sudan's Kit Valley we caught up with an LRA group and killed between 15 and 20 of those thugs," he said. "We are still identifying the bodies."

Bantariza said a group led by LRA deputy commander Vincent Otti was spotted on Monday trying to carry food to LRA leader Joseph Kony in Uganda's Kitgum district.

"We ambushed them, beat them up and killed 10," he said.

Kitgum is 450 km (280 miles) north of the capital Kampala.

He said it was too early to confirm a report that Monday's dead included an LRA self-styled "high priest", Abonga Pappa.

For 19 years the cult-like LRA has terrorised remote communities on both sides of the border, uprooting 1.6 million people in northern Uganda alone and triggering what aid workers call one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.

The LRA, which is founded on religious symbolism, traditional rites and fear, has never given a clear account of its aims beyond opposing Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.

It is notorious for targeting civilians, mutilating survivors and kidnapping thousands of children who are forced to serve the group as fighters, porters and sex slaves.

Under a 2002 deal with Khartoum, Uganda's military can attack the rebels in southern Sudan, where the LRA's elusive Kony is believed to sometimes hide.

Landmark talks to end the war stalled earlier this year, and war crimes indictments for Kony and five of his top officers are expected to be issued soon by the International Criminal Court.

Security sources in northern Uganda say fewer LRA abductions in recent weeks suggest the rebels are under increasing pressure from the army.
UPDATE: More news from Michael at Uganda-CAN on a possible third rebel commander to be killed in the past few months.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Land Insecurity Reveals Complexity of Suffering in Northern Uganda

From Paul at Uganda-CAN August 16, 2005 - Land Insecurity Reveals Complexity of Suffering in Northern Uganda:

Land insecurity in northern Uganda, caused by displacement and an inadequate legal framework and protection of land rights, has been an obstacle to peace efforts for over a decade. Though those displaced from their land suffer the worst insecurity, landowners hosting IDP camps have also endured property damage and inadequate legal protection. Though the needs of IDPs weigh more heavily than standard property rights, clearly guaranteeing certain property rights is essential for trust-building between the central government and northern Ugandans. Judy Adoko, a land rights activist in Uganda working for a Uganda-CAN partner organization, the Land and Equity Movement in Uganda, reports from the ground about the challenges of balancing human need and land rights.

Bosco's family (name changed) has hosted IDPs on their land since 1986, and are currently under threat of losing their family land. Bosco, a young man, inherited the land through his deceased father, Patrick. Recently, Bosco came to Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) to seek legal advice because some of the IDPs have started building permanent houses on his land and have cut all the vegetation down. Some IDPs now claim that since they have lived on the land for a long time, the land belongs to them and they are protected by the central government.

Bosco has tried to inform people of his rights to land and to stop them from building permanent houses on his land but the people are very aggressive. Bosco believes that the suffering has made people very aggressive. Some of the local authorities support the IDPs. Bosco has other uncles who have supported him to claim rights over his father's land.

On 3rd January 2005, he and his clan members and neighbours put mark stones (not survey stones) all around their land and drew a map showing the boundaries. To support Bosco, LEMU also wrote a legal brief to the authorities and IDPs in Katakwi district to advise them that in the absence of a legal compulsory acquisition of land by the government followed by prompt, fair and adequate compensation of the land to Bosco's family, the land still belongs to Bosco and his family.

His actions do not necessarily mean he wants the IDPs to leave and return to unsafe homes, but that he is merely trying to protect his land rights and ensure displacement is not permanent. However, legal red-tape has prevented the Bosco dilemma, common throughout northern Uganda, from getting the attention it deserves.

Look for more analysis of land insecurity in northern Uganda on the Uganda-CAN website within the coming weeks.

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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Winner-Take-All the Bane of Africa

Opinion piece in The Nation (Nairobi) via allAfrica.com August 4, 2005 by Richard Dowden:

Africa's winner-takes-all politics lie at the heart of everything that has gone wrong with the continent. It is the reason why it has fallen behind the rest of the world economically, and the reason for its wars and poverty.

Its roots go back to the creation of African states themselves, the lines drawn on maps by the European colonial powers at the end of the 19th century. The process eventually produced fifty-three states overlaying some 10,000 pre-existing societies and political entities.

Nigeria is a prime example. It has three big tribes and more than 400 ethnic groups, yet its people have to elect one president and one government.

By comparison, imagine a Europe whose larger tribes (Germans, French, British) and 25 European Union states were united by force (not referendum); where the French are Muslim, the Germans Catholic, the British Protestant; where the only source of income (oil) is under German control; and where, if anyone mentions putting their own people first or forming an alliance with another ethnic group, they are accused of being "tribalist" and endangering the future of the state.

African states, with a few exceptions, have no common understanding of nationhood. Their flags, national anthems, and identities were created by outsiders. Patriotism, in the good sense of positive loyalty to one's country, is in short supply.

Private bank account

If you want power, you play the ethnic card or smear your religious rivals. When you achieve power, you bring your own people into government - and even more important, into the army.

The State treasury becomes your private bank account. When you run for election, the entire state structure and all its officials are at your disposal. If anyone inside the continent says anything, you accuse them of interfering in internal affairs. If anyone outside Africa criticises you, you accuse them of racism and neo-colonialism.

It's a simple formula, one that has worked brilliantly for President Robert Mugabe, and many others.

Those new to Africa are often struck by a contrast: how individualistic and cynical African politicians are, and how communal and hopeful most African citizens are. Between rulers and the ruled, there seems to be little connection or even shared values. The result is a dysfunctional political culture.

Despite it, some countries have worked. Botswana has been coup-free and relatively corruption-free. The presidency has passed through three safe pairs of hands. Tanzania remains virtually a one-party state, but the recent election of a new presidential candidate was as democratic as it gets. Ghana and Senegal have both changed governments through elections.

None of these states are free from problems of regional or ethnic discontent; Botswana with the San Bushmen, Tanzania with Zanzibar, and Senegal and Ghana with minorities that feel excluded.

Other states like Uganda and Kenya seemed to be coming right then fell back into old problems. Uganda under Yoweri Museveni was the darling of aid-giving governments for years, to the extent that aid supplied more than half its budget. But now he seems determined to change the constitution to extend his rule.

In Kenya, the corrupt old regime of Daniel arap Moi was replaced in December 2002 through the stunning electoral victory of an opposition alliance led by President Mwai Kibaki. Two years on, Kenya seems to have become even more corrupt than before.

Then there are the big holes on the map: The Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria itself - all ruled in great parts by local barons and warlords and where there is no democracy despite, in Nigeria's case at least, elections.

This overall picture makes the prospect of turning Africa around with aid and debt relief seem at best problematic, at worst a pipedream.

Uganda illustrates the terrible dilemma facing those who wish to help Africans improve their lives. To punish Museveni by cutting aid could mean hurting millions of Ugandans who are beginning to see real change. The country is so dependent on aid that dropping it would risk destroying the economic gains it has made in recent years.

Museveni knows the donors, and their moral scruples, well. He will take huge risks with his country's future to stay in power. Will he, after all he has achieved, throw it all away? As they used to say of Moi in Kenya: "If you are the only one on the teat, it does not matter how thin the cow gets."

Such hard-boiled calculations do not enter the soft world of Live8 concerts and the campaigns for debt relief and more aid. This aid-agency-driven agenda - on prominent display at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland - creates the illusion that the hungry African child the NGOs use in their fundraising propaganda can be directly reached by individual donor money.

I was delighted when Bob Geldof said he did not want Western citizens' money - only their support - because there are things the West can do for Africa apart from giving it money. Or rather there are damaging things the West can stop doing, barriers it can remove to give Africa a real chance to earn its living in the world and develop.

First, the West can fight to end two kinds of subsidies - the agricultural subsidies for farmers in Europe, America and Japan that keep world prices low and squeeze African commodities out of the global market, and the export subsidies that allow cheap food to be dumped in Africa, destroying African markets.

Second, the West should look closely at the "external" dimension of corruption in Africa. Britain has resisted signing the UN Convention on Corruption and British companies are fighting regulations that would make them responsible for corrupt practices by their agents as well as their own staff.

Reform immigration policy

Third, the west must stop encouraging the brain-drain from Africa. There are said to be more Malawian nurses in England's Birmingham than in Malawi itself, a country ravaged by HIV/Aids.

Fourth, the arms and mines that kill in Africa's wars may mostly be made in the former Soviet Union, but the dealers are based mainly in London and the deals are made in its financial district. They are not licensed or regulated in any way. This should change.

Fifth, the West must reform its immigration policy. Thousands of Africans living in Britain or trying to come here are left with an impression of Britain somewhat at odds with Tony Blair's passion for Africa. I spent a day and half trying to get a visa for a well-known Ugandan MP scheduled to speak at a meeting I was organising. Not even the intervention by the new minister for Africa, David Triesman, could move the Home Office to deliver it in time.

Sustainable Development

All these points were touched on in the Commission for Africa report, published in March 2005. At its launch, Premier Blair said the report's recommendations were now British policy. If he were serious, then relevant legislative proposals and the parliamentary time to discuss them should have been part of the government's programme for 2005-06. But the mentions of Africa in the Queen's speech that announced this programme were vague and exhortatory.

Mr Dowden is director of the Royal Africa Society

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Uganda fears Garang's death may prolong brutal war with LRA rebels

Due to extensive posting at Sudan Watch and Niger Watch, original commentary here at Uganda Watch is still sparse. In order to keep up with logging the latest on Sudan and Uganda, I have to rely on using clips from mainstream media. Apologies to Peter at Uganda-CAN - and others - for not yet posting various links. Hope to catch up soon.

Meanwhile, here is a copy of an AFP report Aug 2 via SudanTribune entitled "Uganda fears Garang's death may prolong brutal war with LRA rebels":

"To me, this is a blow to our peace process," northern Ugandan lawmaker Reagan Okumu said of Garang's death on Saturday when the Ugandan helicopter in which he was returning to Sudan crashed in poor weather.

"Garang had personal attachment with the people in northern Uganda and it was hoped that if he took firm control over southern Sudan, this LRA menace will cease," he told AFP.

In fact, Garang’s last public comments, made here before his ill-fated flight, were a vow to flush the LRA and its elusive leader Joseph Kony out of southern Sudan from where they have launched savage raids into northern Uganda for 19 years.

"Joseph Kony won't be hiding there for long," the 60-year-old leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army and newly appointed first vice president of Sudan told Uganda's state-run New Vision newspaper on Friday.

"We need to provide peace, security and stability," he said ahead of talks on security in the region with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in whose helicopter he would perish 24 hours later.

Such remarks endeared him to the Ugandan military and the civilian population of rural northern Uganda which has been systematically terrorized by the LRA's mass killings, rapes, mutilations and abductions of children for nearly a generation.

"He was committed to joining hands with us to stop this rural terrorism," said Ugandan army spokesman Shaban Bantariza. "But all this is lost now, we only hope that others will continue from where he ended."

While acknowleging an impact on the LRA rebellion, which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands and displaced more than 1.6 million people, Bantariza insisted Garang's death would not make it easier for the guerrillas to fight.

"The unfortunate incident in Sudan does not favor them at all," he told AFP.

Others are not so certain, however, noting reports that LRA fighters had been heard rejoicing and celebrating at the news of Garang's death in intercepted radio transmissions from northern Uganda and southern Sudan.

"Some pressure on them is erased by the death of Garang for some time," said an analyst for an internationally respected think tank who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of his work in the region.

"A peace process is multi-faceted," the analyst said. "The SPLA and Garang in this case were part of the dynamics that were shaping it in Uganda."

Of most concern to him and to church and community leaders in northern Uganda most affected by the LRA's reign of terror is the potential for Garang’s death to derail the January 9 north-south Sudan peace deal.

They said the pact that ended Africa's longest-running civil war is critical to restoring stability in southern Sudan and, in the process, dealing with LRA who have camped there for years with the backing of the Sudanese government.

Damage to the Sudan agreement from Garang's absence could have "dire consequences" for attempts to resolve the conflict in northern Uganda, the analyst said, a sentiment echoed in the region.

"If his death disrupts peace in southern Sudan, this may affect us negatively," said Father Carlos Rodriguez, a Catholic priest in Gulu district which has been the epicenter of the LRA war.

"A peaceful southern Sudan is a guarantee for peace for us in northern Uganda," he told AFP by phone from Gulu town.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Sudanese VP Dr John Garang DeMabior, 13 Others Die in Plane Crash

More news on the tragic death of Dr Garang at Sudan Watch: Sudan's first VP and former rebel leader killed.

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Sudan VP Garang killed in crash

Yesterday, a BBC news report said John Garang was on his way back to Sudan from Uganda when his plane or helicopter went missing for several hours. Later on in the evening, the report was updated saying he was safe and well.

This morning it was a shock to see a new BBC report saying he was killed in crash.

Here is a copy of today's report:

Sudan's Vice-President John Garang, a former rebel leader, has been killed in a crash, the government has said.

Mr Garang had been missing since Saturday, when contact was lost with his helicopter flying back from Uganda.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher says Mr Garang's importance in holding together southern Sudan cannot be overstated.

He was greeted as a peacemaker by more than a million people when he was sworn in three weeks ago as part of a deal ending a decades-long civil war.

His death will be a huge blow to the Sudanese people, our correspondent adds.

Mr Garang's former rebel movement, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, is said to have held a crisis meeting in Nairobi when news of a possible crash began to spread.

Mr Garang steered the group through a bloody 21-year civil war against the government in the north.

He ruled it with an iron hand, imprisoning or killing anyone who threatened to stand in his way.

But he managed to keep the disparate movement together, despite many disagreements.

The conflict in Sudan ended with the signing of a peace agreement in January, and Mr Garang became vice-president in a new government of national unity.

He declared the peace agreement a "great battle and a major victory".

The dignity of the southern people, he said, had been restored: "Nobody will take us for granted - we have come to stay".

With his death the future of peace in Sudan is once more in the balance, correspondents say.

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