A political deal ending Africa’s longest civil war, in Sudan, has been reconfirmed with the swearing-in of former rebel Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir as first vice president.
It follows the death of his predecessor John Garang in a helicopter crash last week. The 54-year-old Kiir has vowed to work towards the unity of the country. The deal struck in January envisages a new coalition government, wealth sharing, democratic transformation and a southern referendum on secession from the north in six years’ time. The war claimed an estimated 2 million lives, mostly from hunger and disease. Garang’s death in the helicopter crash gave rise to suspicions of foul play which sparked Khartoum’s worst riots for decades. Analysts say Kiir’s taking office signals a clear desire by the south to continue to put the peace agreement into practice.