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Death of a Colleague in Sudan

Walter Braunohler, Public Diplomacy Officer
Washington, DC
January 3, 2008

This undated photo shows USAID Officer John Granville in Sudan. [AP/USAID]

Walter Braunohler is a public diplomacy officer at the U.S. embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.

My wife and I woke up on New Year’s Day at 4:00 AM to the news that two of our colleagues at USAID had been attacked in a neighborhood near ours in Khartoum. Over the next few hours, the Embassy vaulted into crisis mode. Facts and rumors swirled as we attempted to make sense of what had happened.

We learned that John Granville, 33, an American officer, and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, 39, a locally employed Sudanese national, had been shot. Abdelrahman died at the scene. John was immediately taken to the hospital. After hours of surgery, where volunteers from the Embassy stood by to give blood, John succumbed to his injuries and passed away. Both John and Abdelrahman died serving the common interests of the U.S. and the Sudan in bringing peace and stability to a country that has long been wracked by violence and conflict.

The entire U.S. mission in Sudan is in a state of shock over the deaths of John and Abdelrahman. John worked on the Democracy & Governance team with USAID – just last week, I worked with him on a reporting cable about the role of radio in Sudan’s political future, one of John’s areas of expertise.

The Embassy is working closely with local authorities on investigating the tragic events of New Year’s Day here in Khartoum. It’s our hope that we will have some more answers soon.

Khartoum is designated as a danger post in the Foreign Service with an unfortunate history of deaths in the line of duty. In 1973, Ambassador Cleo Noel Jr. and Deputy Chief of Mission George Curtis Moore were killed by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September. In 1981, a USAID employee was killed in a car accident.


MJ in New York writes:

The lives of these individuals, working for peace in our world, shall not be forgotten. To honor their lives, we must do what we can, each and every one of us, to work toward peace in whatever capacity we can. That is what John would want and I am sure that is what Abdelrahmen would want. I hope that my sincerest sympathy might reach Abdelrahmen's family via this posting as I have no other was to share it. May the great spirit and beauty of the lives of both John and Abdelrahmen live on in us in our renewed efforts to promote peace.

Posted on Fri Jan 11, 2008

Michael in New York writes:

THANK YOU, John Granville, and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, for your dedication to making Sudan a better place. Even though Sudan right now is dangerous and they knew their lives were in danger, they did not give up on the mission in Sudan.

I do not pity them, I envy them. Because of the life of sacrifice for the people they did; both American and Sudanese. Let us not mourn their deaths but praise their lives. Thank you.

Posted on Tue Jan 08, 2008

Ralph in Greece writes:

My sincerest condolences to the families of the two individuals killed in this senseless attack. God speed to the investigators who hopefully can bring these murderers to justice.

Posted on Fri Jan 04, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

It is always a sad situation when those who help are taken from the world. While many of us have served in a more offensive nature to defend and protect, those who SERVE in such a capacity to leave themselves open to attack while Aiding those who have no representation in their countries beyond what food may be available by those providing it are as much American Hero's as any soldier anywhere in the world. Perhaps more so as they do it with only one intent: TO HELP without intent of personal profit.

May God bless their souls and bring peace to their families in knowing they were Heroes of Democracy and provided hope where there was none.

Posted on Thu Jan 03, 2008

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