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Former Sudanese Rebel Leader Prepares to Take Office in Historic Visit to Khartoum

John Garang
Sudan's former southern rebel leader John Garang has arrived in the capital, Khartoum, for the first time in 22 years.

Banners welcoming Mr. Garang were hung from buildings and streets across the city. Thousands of people gathered in the capital's main public square where Mr. Garang will hold a rally later Friday evening.

On Saturday, the former rebel leader will be sworn in as Sudan's first vice president,- a post he was guaranteed under a peace accord signed earlier this year. It will be the first time any southerner has held such a high position in Sudan's government.

Mr. Garang will also preside over a semi-autonomous government in the south. As part of the peace agreement, southerners will vote in six years whether to remain part of Sudan or secede.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AP.