04/08/2005 - The accidental death of Vice-President and ex-rebel leader John Garang at the beginning of this week triggered violent riots, mainly in Khartum. For safety reasons, SOS Children's Villages temporarily closed its office in the capital city as well as its facilities in Umbada.
Since Monday there have been violent riots in Khartum and other cities in the country and the latest reports speak of 130 casualties. A curfew has been imposed in the capital during the past few nights.
Over the past 20 years John Garang had fought in the south of the country against the Khartoum-based government as head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). He had signed a much longed-for peace treaty in January this year and had only become Vice-President of Sudan a few weeks ago.
In Khartoum and other cities, Garang's death has provoked violent clashes between southern Sudanese and northern Arabs. For safety reasons, the director of SOS Children's Villages in Sudan closed the national office in the capital city on Monday. The SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, the SOS Vocational Training Centre and the SOS Social Centre in Umbada, 20 km away from the city centre of Khartoum, have also been temporarily shut down. The facilities and the office will probably not open again before this coming Saturday.
The children, SOS mothers and staff of the SOS Children's Village and the other facilities in the capital are safe and sound, and it is possible to buy foodstuffs. The SOS Children's Village in Malakal and the emergency relief programme in Darfur also continue to function as usual.