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At Least 130 Dead in Sudanese Clashes, More Trouble Feared


Clashes between southern and northern Sudanese continued for a third day in Sudan's capital, Khartoum. Ethnic and sectarian violence in the capital and elsewhere in the country erupted following the death of Sudan's vice president, John Garang, and so far has claimed more than 130 lives.

Sudanese Arabs are leaving the southern Sudanese town of Juba, days before John Garang is to be buried there. The mood in Juba, a government stronghold in the south of Sudan, is tense. Gunfire could be heard at night in the town as heavily armed police and Sudanese army troops patrolled the deserted roads.

Southern Sudanese, who suspect foul play in the death of Mr. Garang in a helicopter crash over the weekend, went on a rampage, burning Arab-owned shops and attacking anyone looking like an ethnic Arab. At least 13 people were killed in Juba, according to the Sudanese Red Crescent.

The intense bloodletting that has followed Mr. Garang's death echoes the ethnic and religious disputes that fueled Sudan's 21-year civil war between the predominantly Christian south and the mostly Arab Muslim north.

In Malakal, in the country's southeast, riots have disrupted life since Monday, and at least six people were reportedly killed. In Khartoum, the epicenter of the violence, street violence has left at least 110 people dead and more than 200 injured.

Alfred Taban is the publisher of the Khartoum Monitor, Sudan's only independent English-language newspaper. He says troops of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, the SPLA, are amassing in Juba to protect the large number of southern Sudanese expected in the city.

"Yes, there is a worry that there could be trouble," he said. "And I think that is why the SPLA is sending a large contingent of its troops to Juba, to ensure that the process, the burial process, goes on well. Of course, the northern troops are still there. There are literally thousands of them there. They have not yet moved. And this indeed is a great worry to many southern Sudanese and northern Sudanese as well."

In separate statements Wednesday, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Mr. Garang's successor, Salva Kiir Mayardit, appealed for calm. Mr. al-Bashir as well as other world leaders are expected to attend Mr. Garang's funeral in Juba.

The United States has sent two senior envoys to Juba in a bid to keep the country's fragile peace from unraveling.