On January 1, 2008, U.S. citizen and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) employee John Granville and his Sudanese driver, Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama, were shot and killed on their way home from a New Year’s Eve celebration in Khartoum, Sudan. Granville, 33, had been working on democracy and governance programs in Sudan. Abbas, 39, joined USAID in 2004 as a member of its Disaster Assistance Response Team for Darfur. Two groups separately claimed responsibility for the attack: Ansar al-Tawhid (Supporters of Monotheism) and al-Qaida in the Lands of the Two Niles (AQTN).
The Sudanese legal system tried and convicted five men for their involvement in the murders. Abdelraouf Abu Zaid Mohamed Hamza, Mohamed Makawi Ibrahim Mohamed, Abdelbasit Alhaj Alhassan Haj Hamad, and Mohanad Osman Yousif Mohamed were sentenced to death by hanging, but escaped from prison one year after their conviction. Mohanad reportedly died in Somalia in May 2011. Abdelraouf was recaptured by Sudanese authorities. Makawi and Abdelbasit remain at large.
Makawi had ties to a group in Sudan called al-Qaida in the Lands of the Two Niles, which plotted to attack U.S., other Western, and Sudanese interests. He was the leader of the group that carried out the attack on January 1, 2008, and was identified as one of two shooters in the murders. After escaping from Khobar Prison in Khartoum on June 11, 2010, Makawi went to Somalia.