Friday, December 05, 2003

Sudan: SPLA/M deligates welcomed in Khartoum

Thousands of people, mainly southerners living in Khartoum, gathered near the airport to welcome the delegation of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) coming from Libya, Agence France-Presse [reported].

"Welcome new Sudan," they cheered in English.

... Before meeting the delegation, Sudanese President Omar Bashir said “this puts an end to the war prevailing in southern areas for 20 years”. (link)
Another description of the scene from Declan Walsh writing for the Independent (UK) ...
Thousands of cheering supporters thronged outside the airport, waving banners, singing, "Down with the Old Sudan" and brandishing posters of the rebel leader, John Garang. Most came from the squalid camps on the edge of Khartoum that house most of the city's southern population. Forced from their homes by war, they say they are treated like second-class citizens by Arab northerners. Standing opposite a camouflaged truck full of riot police, some supporters defiantly waved flags of "New Sudan", an entity declared by the rebels during the bitter conflict that has claimed more than two million lives since 1983. But many were furious when government officials directed the rebel convoy away from the main crowd and down a road leading from the airport. (link)