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New VP enters evolving Sudan government

Aug. 14, 2005 at 10:35 AM

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The newly sworn in first vice president of Sudan faces a difficult task of uniting his party and working with historical enemies in the new government.

Salva Kiir Mayardit was sworn in at the Republican Palace in Khartoum as President Omar Hassan Bashir and Second Vice President Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha raised their hands as a sign of solidarity, the Washington Post reports.

Kiir and the late John Garang led the Sudan People's Liberation Movement against the Khartoum government for more than two decades before a Jan. 9 cease fire turned the battlefield enemies into political colleagues.

Garang was killed July 30 when a Ugandan helicopter he was in crashed on the way back to Sudan from diplomatic meetings.

The crash has been officially called an accident although riots in the cities of Khartoum and Juba that claimed 130 lives and millions of dollars in property damage were sparked by rumors of government involvement.

Kiir now has to pick up where Garang left off, on a mission to keep the mission of the rebel movement alive while moving forward as vice president.

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