Rebel who fought Sudan government to be vice-president

Yesterday, the capital was festooned with the flags of his Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and thousands of his supporters waited in the hot sun to make sure they did not miss his arrival.

Mr Garang's journey to Khartoum from Rumbek, the southern town that was the SPLM stronghold for many years, will mark the formal end of a 21-year civil war that killed more than two million people and devastated south Sudan. He becomes the first Christian to hold such a senior position in Sudan's Islamic government and many hope his appointment will encourage Sudan's autocratic regime to modernise.

Last month, the government freed high-profile political prisoners including the opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi and tomorrow it will lift a 16-year state of emergency declared across most of the country.

"Garang's going to unite the whole of Sudan and he's going to bring peace in the whole of Sudan," Mariam Oketch, a southerner who fled the fighting to live in Khartoum, told reporters.

Today's celebrations will not affect Darfur in western Sudan, where 180,000 people have died and two million have lost their homes in attacks by government forces and the janjaweed militia. Mr Garang said he hopes his peace deal can be used as a blueprint for a similar one in Darfur but the rebel groups there are reluctant to accept his authority.

This will be the second time Mr Garang has worked with the government. In the early 1980s, he was sent as an army officer to suppress a mutiny in the south. Instead of ending the uprising, he took charge of the rebel troops and in 1983 launched a civil war to win greater equality for southern Sudan. His main aim was to ensure the mainly Christian southern Sudanese kept control of the oil that was discovered on their lands in 1978.

During the war, south Sudan enjoyed a great deal of support from American churches, and US pressure finally forced both sides to sign a peace deal in Nairobi this year. The peace deal Mr Garang signed with the Khartoum government in January achieved most of his goals. It set up wealth- and power-sharing agreements between the north and south and exempts the mainly Christian south from sharia, Islamic law, which is practised in Khartoum.

This week, the Sudanese parliament approved an interim constitution paving the way for Mr Garang's appointment. In six years, south Sudan will vote on whether to secede from the rest of the country. Mr Garang wants Sudan to remain unified but most south Sudanese want separation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn