Tuesday, January 01, 2008

U.S. Diplomat Killed in Sudan


An American diplomat in Sudan was shot and killed early Tuesday as he was coming home from a New Year’s Eve party in Khartoum, the capital.

In Washington, the United States Agency for International Development identified the victim as one of its officials, John Granville, 33, originally of Buffalo, N.Y. American officials said it was “too early to tell” if the shooting was random or planned, but Sudanese officials said the circumstances were suspicious, especially because gun crime is rare in Khartoum, considered one of the safest cities in Africa.

The United Nations had recently warned its staff in Sudan that there was credible evidence that a terrorist cell was in the country and planning to attack foreigners.

According to Western officials, Mr. Granville left a New Year’s Eve party at the British Embassy around 2:30 a.m. and headed to his home in an upscale neighborhood in central Khartoum. Shortly before he arrived, a car pulled up next to him and 17 shots were fired, Sudanese officials said. Mr. Granville’s driver, a Sudanese employee of the American Embassy, was killed instantly, and he was shot in the neck and chest. He was rushed to the hospital and died several hours later. A Sudanese government official said the attack appeared well-planned and involved two gunmen who exited their car together, with one of them shooting Mr. Granville and the other shooting the driver. Walter Braunohler, a spokesman for the American Embassy in Khartoum, said he could not comment on the circumstances because the shooting was under investigation.