June 17, 2007 (NAIROBI) — The widow of former Sudanese vice president and southern rebel leader John Garang claimed her husband, who died in a 2005 helicopter crash, had been assassinated, Kenyan television reported on Sunday.
Rebecca Nyadeng’ however fell short of laying the blame on anyone.
“Let me tell you what I have always hidden in my mind and my heart. When my husband died, I did not say he was killed because I knew the consequences, but I knew my husband was assassinated,” Nyadeng’ said in a television report by independent Kenya Television Network (KTN).
Nyadeng’, also the roads and transport minister for the semi-autonomous region of southern Sudan, said she refrained from releasing the information after Garang died in order to maintain the unity of the southern Sudanese.
“I knew we had millions of people of southern Sudan and we also had children and I knew they were going to be affected. My husband was a great man, but he had left a vision greater than him,” she said.
Nearly a week after ex-rebel leader died, his ally Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the crash that killed Garang may not have been an accident, and “it may be something else.”
But in April 2006, a joint Sudanese-Ugandan probe — conducted with assistance from US, Russian and Kenyan aviation experts — ruled out foul play in the crash of the Ugandan chopper that was followed by rioting in several Sudanese cities.
Below is the text of the Kenyan KTN TV aired on Sunday June 17, 2007 :
Exactly two years after the death of the late SPLA leader John Garang, questions still arise about his death. Garang died in July 2005 after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed in the hills on the Uganda-Sudan border.
His widow Rebecca Garang has said in public that her husband was killed and that it was not just an accident. Rebecca was speaking after receiving an award by the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation.
KTN reporter: The death of John Garang in July 2005 still raises controversy and many questions.
Rebecca Garang: When my husband died I did not come out openly and said that my husband was killed because I knew the consequences but at the depth of my heart I knew my husband was assassinated.
KTN reporter: Garang was returning to Sudan from Rwakitura area in Uganda following talks with President Museveni. Soon his helicopter crashed under circumstances described as bad whether conditions.
Rebecca Garang: Those who are culprits of this problem, let me warn you. When you kill a lion you always know what the lioness can do. I swallowed my pride but I knew during the period, I said I will mourn my husband only if the vision is dead.
KTN reporter: Rebecca’s remarks come two year since John Garang’s death and while the report about the plane crash has still not been officially released. Rebecca was speaking at an annual event organized by the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation. John Garang de Mabior was reputed as a great leader and the pillar of southern Sudanese fighters. Garang, who originated from Bor Dinka ethnic group, was born in 1945 in Wangkulie in Southern Sudan.