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Archive for Thursday, August 4, 2005

Arabs flee southern town following riots

August 4, 2005

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— Sudanese Arabs fled the southern town of Juba on Wednesday after ethnic Africans angered by the death of their popular rebel leader went on a two-day rampage, chasing Arabs in the street and burning Arab shops and homes. At least 18 people were killed, witnesses said.

Gunfire could be heard Wednesday night in Juba, southern Sudan's largest town and a key focal point of a peace deal between north and south.

Heavy police and army patrols circulated in the otherwise empty dirt roads. Shops in an outdoor market stood charred and shattered.

At Juba's airport, dozens of Arabs - mostly men - lined up with baggage for flights to the capital, Khartoum, in the north. Women and families appeared to have already left.

Violence erupted after the death of John Garang, the charismatic leader of rebels who for 21 years fought for ethnic African, mostly Christian and animist southern Sudan to gain independence from the Khartoum government in the mainly Muslim Arab north.

Garang died in a helicopter crash Saturday night.

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