RUMBEK, Sudan, Jan 22 (AFP) — The peace accord between the Sudanese government and southern rebels to end Africa’s longest-running civil war is to be ratified in the next 48 hours by the south’s parliament, former rebel leader John Garang said Saturday.
Several thousand people welcome John Garang, leader of the SPLA, on his return in Rumbek, on Saturday January 22, 2005. (AFP).
Garang, head of the former Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), made the announcement to jubilant crowds greeting him on his first trip back to the southern capital Rumbek since the peace deal was signed in Nairobi this month.
“Your movement has delivered to you peace,” Garang told the cheering throngs.
“The next 48 hours, the agreement will be ratified by the National Liberation Council (the southern parliament). With the comprehensive agreement, the suffering of our people will come to an end. There will be no more deaths and displacement because of war.”
The peace deal between the Sudanese government and the former rebels in the south was signed on January 9 in the Kenyan capital.
The war claimed the lives of 1.5 million people and displaced four million more in 21 years of conflict between the Muslim-dominated government in Khartoum and the mainly Christian and animist south.
Garang is now set to be named Sudan’s new vice president.