Extremist group claims responsibility for killing of American diplomat in Sudan

Saturday, January 5, 2008

A previously unknown militant group has claimed responsibility for killing a United States diplomat in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on New Year's Day.

The group, calling itself Ansar al-Tawhid (Companions of Monotheism), said its members shot 33-year-old John Granville and his Sudanese driver Abdel Rahman Abbas. The name of the militant group has been used by many other groups of extremists in other areas of the world.

It was not immediately possible to authenticate the claim, which was posted on a Web site used by Islamists.

Granville was being driven home on New Year's Day when another vehicle cut his car off, and assailants opened fire.

FBI agents and other U.S. investigators have traveled to Sudan to investigate the shooting.

Sudan's foreign ministry has said the shooting was an isolated incident with no political connotations. Sudanese media reports quoted a government official earlier this week as saying there is no evidence the attack was an act of terrorism.

U.S.-Sudanese relations have been tense because of the violence in Sudan's Darfur region. The shooting happened one day after a joint United Nations-African Union force took over peacekeeping duties in Darfur.