The news about Vice President John Garang's death hits us first thing in the morning - even out in a distant field location where I am working today, the VHF radios are buzzing with the latest.
The initial reaction is one of intense frustration. The aid workers are shaking their heads at the ill-fated timing of the event - it's such a crucial stage of the peace process, and everyone is frantically asking each other "what does this mean for Darfur?"
The locals are angry. While they are careful to say that nothing has been proven (well, at least as far as those of us without satellite television know!) everyone is incredibly suspicious and upset. Speculation runs rife: why were there no government officials travelling with Garang on a state visit like this? Why did no one hear about it until this morning?
When I ask one of our staff what the Darfur rebels will make of it he just shakes his head. "It's just like the government to do something like this. They have even killed their own friends when they don't like their opinion. Now no one will want to go to Khartoum and make peace - they will just kill them too!"
Everyone has friends and relatives in the capital, where roads and airports have been closed and riots are taking place. "People are shouting there, because they are angry. Here, we cannot shout and get angry - the government would just start shooting before they asked any questions," I am told.
It's a sad start to the week - even if this whole thing turns out to be an accident (not unlikely I suppose). There has been a lot of hope invested into the North-South peace process, even in those parts of Sudan where conflict still rages. Having that little bit of hope snatched away at this stage would be disastrous.
Tags: John Garang, Khartoum, Sudan, Darfur, aid worker