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Message of condolences on the death of Dr John Garang

01 August 2005

Letter to the churches in Sudan, 1 August, 2005

It is with deep sadness that I received the news about the untimely death of Dr
John Garang. On behalf of the World Council of Churches, and on my own behalf,
I send the churches and the people of Sudan our sincere condolences. Our prayers
and thoughts are with you during this mournful period.

As the leader of Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) Dr Garang
came to embody the struggle of the people of Southern Sudan. He was totally
committed to the struggle for justice, peace and dignity for all the people of
Sudan. It was a struggle for which he dedicated his life and for which he was prepared
to die if need be. It is only a few months ago that his dream and vision were
considerably fulfilled with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
resulting in his assuming the position of first Vice-president of Sudan and President
of South Sudan in the new political dispensation. It is most lamentable that he
should die in the manner he did, in a helicopter crash.

Dr Garang's demise is a tragedy of enormous proportions. His death is a huge loss
not only to the people of Sudan but to the people of Eastern Africa and the con-
tinent as a whole. I got to know Dr Garang very well during my intensive involvement
in the peace negotiations for the SPLM. He was a greatly talented intellectual,
and a selfless and charismatic leader. In John Garang Sudan has lost a valuable
son and a committed nationalist whose life was devoted to the struggle of
his people. As you try to come to terms with this huge loss please be assured of
our support and solidarity.

Our confidence is that the implications of Dr Garang's death should not adversely
affect the process towards economic and social reconstruction of Southern Sudan
and the need for its people to remain united. We pray for God's wisdom and direction
so that a peaceful transition will prevail. We trust that the Southern Sudanese
leadership will continue to nurture the dreams and vision of John Garang and the
hope they generated through the comprehensive peace agreement. We shall stand
by the NSCC, SCC and the Sudanese churches in their pastoral and ethical role
in the implementation of the peace process and in their ministry of reconciliation
and healing of their land.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary