Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Khartoum remains tense today as a third day of violence draws to a close (I am told one of my favourite pizza places has been smashed up in the riots). Things here Darfur are as calm as usual apart from a few grumbling clouds of rain. While the UN has been telling its staff to get their emergency evacuation bags ready, the locals are still trying to figure out what it all means for Sudan.

This morning a woman who is usually too shy to even say her own name tells me that she thinks the government has killed John Garang. There are nods of agreement all around at this.

While I know these perceptions are hardly based on facts and good information (satellite TV is not exactly standard fare in your average plastic-sheeting house), they speak volumes about the trust (or rather lack of it) that people have in their government.

The fact that absolutely no one doubts their leaders' capacity for political assasination is hardly an encouraging sign for the Darfur peace talks that are supposed to resume next week.

Not all are as gloomy as me though - and I have to laugh at the somewhat misplaced optimism of one of our staff when he proclaims that this will lead to a break-up of the government within a matter of days, clearing the way for all of Sudan's rebel groups to unite in one big happy family of the previously opressed. I suppose everyone can dream...

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