BBC News reports that John Garang, former leader of the rebels in the southern part of Sudan, is missing after his helicopter failed to return from Uganda. Garang's Sudan People's Liberation Movement recently concluded a peace treaty with the government in Khartoum that appointed Garang vice-president. Sudanese television had earlier reported that he had landed safely.

I cannot help but think of the plane crash that killed Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana, which sparked the genocide there. I worry that if Garang's helicopter has crashed, suspicions that Khartoum was behind it, might derail the peace. The Washington Post had a good article today about the hopes of the people in southern Sudan for stability and development as a result of the new peace.

Update: The BBC reports that he is dead.

Mr Garang's former rebel movement, the Sudan People's Liberation Army, is said to have held a crisis meeting in Nairobi when news of a possible crash began to spread.