Plane carrying Sudanese vice president has landed safely after losing contact |

Plane carrying Sudanese vice president has landed safely after losing contact

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) – A plane carrying the former rebel who ascended to Sudan’s No. 2 leadership post after a recent peace agreement landed safely Sunday after losing contact in bad weather on its way back from Uganda, Sudanese state TV said.State television interrupted its regular programing to say that Vice President John Garang “has landed safely at a camp in southern Sudan.” The report did not specify where.Garang is a charismatic figure whose leadership is seen as key to ensuring the endurance of the peace agreement signed in January. The accord ended 21 years of war by providing for power sharing between the Khartoum government and Garang’s southern-based rebels.It is hoped that his role in the transitional government, which took office in July, could help bring peace to other volatile regions in Sudan, including Darfur.Earlier Sunday, Ugandan army spokesman 2nd Capt. Dennis Musitwa said a helicopter carrying Garang apparently went down Saturday. The discrepancy between the time and the type of craft could not be immediately explained.Garang had been on a private visit in Uganda, which has pledged to repair relations with Sudan now that peace has been declared in the southern war, Musitwa said.In Nairobi, Kenya, a spokesman for Garang’s political party, Yasir Arman said that Garang was “safe and sound ” in southern Sudan, but he declined to give further details.Garang led the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the war between the Muslim north and mainly Christian and animist south.The peace settlement made Garang first vice president as well as president of southern Sudan, letting him set up an interim administration there until a referendum in six years on secession.Vail – Colorado

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