Sudan’s Defense Minister Gamal Omar died in South Sudan capital, Juba, on Wednesday, according to Sudanese officials, reported Reuters.
In an official statement released on Wednesday, the Sudanese army said Omar’s death was caused by a heart attack.
Mr. Omar was appointed as the Defence Minister after veteran President Omar Bashir was ousted in a coup last year by the armed forces following months of nationwide protests. He had served as the head of the military intelligence service from March 2017 until al-Bashir’s overthrow last April.
Armed forces spokesman Amer Mohamed al-Hassan said Mr. Omar had suffered from a number of chronic illnesses.
According to the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Omar, 59, was in Juba for peace talks between the country’s ruling transitional government and rebel groups to end a series of conflicts in Darfur, southern borderlands and other remote regions.
South Sudanese Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth mourned Mr. Omar’s death saying that it is a great loss to people of both South Sudan and Sudan as he is known as a man of peace.
An official funeral for Omar is scheduled to be held in Khartoum after his body is returned to the capital.
Notably, thousands of people have been killed in Sudan’s civil wars, including the conflict in the western Darfur region, where rebels have been fighting the government since 2003.
Convincing the rebel groups for a peace deal is very important for Sudan’s transitional government, which is still battling to rehabilitate the country’s economy, get in much-needed foreign aid and bring the democracy it promised to the people.
Earlier this year, one faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which is active in the border regions of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, agreed on a preliminary deal with the Sudanese government on political and security arrangements. But a rival group opted out of the deal, and talks have continued since then.