15 December, 2009

John Garang

John Garang
After only a few weeks after becoming Sudan's vice-president and after about six months after signing a peace treaty with the North in Kenya, Dr. John Garang de Madiobor (June 23, 1945 – July 30, 2005) was killed in a helicopter crash in late July, 2005. A Dinka, the sixth child of a poor family of seven siblings - 5 brothers and 2 sisters, Garang was orphaned before his teens; due to the conflict in Southern Sudan, he went Tanzania for his secondary school and then on to the US for college and a B.A in economics; then returned to Tanzania for further studies. Later, he returned to America and got his Masters degree and then a Ph.D. after writing a thesis on the agricultural development of Southern Sudan.

In the 1970s, Garang joined the Sudanese army and rose to be a lieutenant colonel. In 1983, he started leading the southern Sudan People's Liberatin Army (SPLA) against the northern government forces; this Second Sudanese War lasted for about 21 years and an estimated one-and-a-half million people were killed. During this long civil war, it is reported that several African countries backed the SPLA - including Libya. Garang was married to Rebecca Nyandeng and reportedly has six children - 2 sons and 4 daughters. As John Garang was said to be very much for keeping Sudan united, if he was alive today, would Southern Sudan have, still, separated?

For more on Garang: BBCTwicom, Times Online, Wikipedia, SPLM, Mading

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