Khartoum horror: at least 20 dead overnight

At least 20 people were reported killed overnight in retaliatory violence erupted in Sudan's shaken capital against southern Sudanese in Khartoum, armed men roamed the streets despite a curfew.

The morning was quiet. But with the midday heat, mobs of northern Sudanese young people lashed out against southern Sudanese in retaliation for their rioting against northern businesses and property Monday. At least 49 people died in the violence that started Monday, according to a U.N. official, The Associated Press reported, though the number was not officially confirmed.

Southern Sudanese looted and burned cars and fired guns in the air Monday, accusing the government of a plot to kill their leader.

The clashes echoed the same ethnic and religious tensions between Sudan's Muslim north and the largely Christian and animist south that fueled the country's 21-year civil war.

Plumes of smoke rising from burning cars and the government helicopters sent to fly over tense shantytown neighborhoods were signs of the country's renewed fragility, Washington Post reports.

"Things are bad here. Arab gangs are going to neighborhoods and attacking people with swords and sticks. This is a retaliation from yesterday's riots," said Alfred Taban, publisher of the Khartoum Monitor, Sudan's only independent English-language newspaper.

Garang was killed in a helicopter crash blamed on inclement weather a few miles from his base, New Site village, in southern Sudan. He was returning from an official visit to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at his ranch.

Garang's successor, Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is expected to become the new government's vice president, made his first public appearance as the south's new leader.

He went on radio and television to say the country needed to chart a path forward and he repeated that no foul play was involved in Garang's death. It was one of the first tests of the leadership of Kiir, who has little political experience but is outspoken and popular among the troops he commands.

Garang was an autocratic leader, which some analysts say was an asset for a rebel movement prone to splits along ethnic lines.

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