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Sudanese Vice President Garang Reportedly Killed in Helicopter Crash

John Garang

A United Nations official says Sudan's First Vice President John Garang has been killed in a helicopter crash in Uganda.

The UN official based in the region says he was informed of the death by members of Mr. Garang's Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

Mr. Garang was flying home Saturday from talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The helicopter encountered bad weather, and radio contact was eventually lost.

The missing helicopter belonged to the Ugandan military.

Mr. Garang had led the SPLM during a 21 year civil war. He was sworn in as Sudan's vice president last month as part of a peace deal he helped negotiate to end the conflict.

Mr. Garang was born in 1945 into southern Sudan's Dinka ethnic group. He attended secondary school in Tanzania and college in the United States. He earned a bachelors degree from Grinnell University in the state of Iowa, in the north-central United States and a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University.

He joined the Sudanese army, but wound up leading the Sudanese People's Liberation Army during a decades-long rebellion against the government. The rebellion was ignited when leaders in Khartoum imposed Islamic law upon the predominantly Christian south.

The civil war killed an estimated two million people. It was ended by a peace deal signed in January of this year. Mr. Garang was a primary negotiator in the agreement.