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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Violent Muslim Mobs Surge Through Khartoum

Violent Mobs Surge Through Sudan Capital.

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Violent mobs surged again into the streets of Sudan's capital Tuesday, a day after 36 people died in riots sparked by the death of Sudanese vice president and former southern rebel leader John Garang.

The initial violence Monday was blamed on Garang supporters from the Christian and animist south who blamed his death in a helicopter crash on Sudan's Muslim-dominated government, but both northerners and southerners reportedly staged attacks Tuesday after a quiet morning.

Arab gangs invaded some neighborhoods heavily populated by southerners on the outskirts of Khartoum and attacked people in the streets and raided homes, said William Ezekiel, managing editor of the Khartoum Monitor. He said some people had been shot to death.

"The Arabs are attacking them, entering their houses and looking for southerners," said Ezekiel, whose newspaper focuses largely on southern issues.

"It's a reaction to the reaction from yesterday: `Where is the government? Where are the police?'" he said.

A senior U.N. official in Khartoum said angry southerners from camps outside the capital for people displaced by the long war in southern Sudan attacked the Omdurman area. He said a Muslim imam had been slain.

"The situation is turning religious and that will be even more dangerous," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists.

The reports of deaths Tuesday could not be independently confirmed. Officials said Monday's riots resulted in 36 people being killed and about 300 injured.

The government renewed the 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew first imposed Monday night, and by midafternoon downtown streets were nearly empty. An occasional siren could be heard.

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