Republic of the Sudan
جمهورية السودان
Jumhūrīyat as-Sūdān
Flag Emblem
Motto: النصر لنا
Victory is ours
Anthem: نحن جند الله جند الوطن 
We are the soldiers of God and of our land
Location of  Sudan  (dark blue)– in Africa  (light blue & dark grey)– in the African Union  (light blue)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Sudan  (dark blue)

– in Africa  (light blue & dark grey)
– in the African Union  (light blue)  —  [Legend]

(and largest city)
15°38′N 032°32′E / 15.633°N 32.533°E / 15.633; 32.533
Official language(s) Arabic, English
Demonym Sudanese
Government Federal presidential republic
 -  President Omar al-Bashir (NCP)
 -  Vice President Ali Osman Taha (NCP)
Adam Yousef (NCP)
Legislature National Legislature
 -  Upper House Council of States
 -  Lower House National Assembly
 -  Kingdoms of Nubia 3500 BC 
 -  Sennar dynasty 1504[1] 
 -  Unification with Egypt 1821 
 -  Independence from Egypt, and the United Kingdom 1 January 1956 
 -  Current constitution 9 January 2005 
 -  Total 1,886,068 km2 (16th)
728,215 sq mi 
 -  2008 census 30,894,000 (disputed)[2] (40th)
 -  Density 16.4/km2 
42.4/sq mi
Currency Sudanese pound (SDG)
Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+3)
 -  Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC+3)
Date formats dd/mm/yyyy
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code SD
Internet TLD .sd
Calling code 249

Sudan (Listeni/sˈdæn/ or /sˈdɑːn/;[3] Arabic: السودان‎, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan[citation needed] (Arabic: جمهورية السودان‎, Jumhūrīyat as-Sūdān), is a country in North Africa[4], sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically[citation needed]. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest. The population of Sudan is a combination of indigenous Saharan Africans, and descendants of migrants from the Arabian Peninsula. Due to the process of Arabisation[dubious ] common throughout the rest of the Arab World, today Arab culture predominates in Sudan[citation needed]. A majority of the population of Sudan adheres to Islam. The Nile divides the country between east and west sides.[5]

The people of Sudan have a long history extending from antiquity which is intertwined with the history of Egypt. Sudan suffered seventeen years of civil war during the First Sudanese Civil War (1955–1972) followed by ethnic, religious and economic conflicts between the Muslim Arab and Arabized northern Sudanese and the mostly animist and Christian Nilotes of Southern Sudan.[6][7] This led to the Second Sudanese Civil War in 1983. Because of continuing political and military struggles, Sudan was seized in a bloodless coup d'état by colonel Omar al-Bashir in 1989, who thereafter proclaimed himself President of Sudan.[8] The civil war ended with the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement which granted autonomy to what was then the southern region of the country. Following a referendum held in January 2011, South Sudan seceded on 9 July 2011 with the consent of Sudan's President al-Bashir.[9][10]

A member of the United Nations, Sudan also maintains membership with the African Union, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as serving as an observer in World Trade Organization.[11] Its capital is Khartoum, which serves as the political, cultural and commercial centre of the nation. Officially a federal presidential representative democratic republic, the politics of Sudan are widely considered by the international community to take place within an authoritarian system due to the control of the National Congress Party (NCP) of the judiciary, executive and legislative branches of government.[12] The ruling National Congress (NCP) is the sole political party in the state.

The Sudanese government has supported the use of recruited Arab militias in guerrilla warfare, such as in the ongoing conflict in Darfur.[13][14] Since then thousands of people have been displaced and killed, and the need for humanitarian care in Darfur has attracted worldwide attention. The conflict has since been described as a genocide,[15] and the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued two arrest warrants for al-Bashir, the current President of Sudan.[16][17]

Sudan then achieved great economic growth by implementing macroeconomic reforms and finally ended the civil war by adopting a new constitution in 2005 with rebel groups in the south, granting them limited autonomy that was followed by a referendum about independence in January 2011.[18] Rich in natural resources such as petroleum , Sudan's economy is amongst the fastest growing in the world.[19] The People's Republic of China and Japan are the main export partners of Sudan.[20]

Sudan has also been the subject of severe sanctions due to alleged ties with Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda.[21][22] Sudan has scored medium in human development in the last few years,[23] ranking number 150 in 2009, between Haiti and Tanzania. Statistics indicate that about seventeen percent of the population live on less than US $1.25 per day.[24] Among Sudan's population of 30 million people, Sunni Islam is the largest religion,[25] while Arabic and English are the official languages.[26][27]

A referendum took place in Southern Sudan from 9 to 15 January 2011,[28] on whether the region should remain a part of Sudan or be independent.[29][30] The referendum was one of the consequences of the 2005 Naivasha Agreement between the Khartoum central government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) Preliminary results released by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission on 30 January 2011 indicate that 98% of voters selected the "separation" option, with 1% selecting "unity".[31] Southern Sudan became an independent country on 9 July 2011.[32]



History of Sudan
History of Sudan template graphic.jpg
This article is part of a series
Early Sudan
Coming of Islam
Muhammad Ali dynasty
The Mahdiyah
Anglo-Egyptian rule
Independent Sudan (since 1956)
First Civil War (1955–1972)
Nimeiri Era
National Revolutionary Command Council
Second Civil War (1983–2005)
Transitional Military Council
Coalition Governments and al-Bashir Era
Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation
Economic history
Military history
Social history

Sudan Portal
v · d · e

Kingdom of Kush

The Kingdom of Kush was an ancient Nubian state centered on the confluences of the Blue Nile, White Nile and River Atbara. It was established after the Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt, centered at Napata in its early phase. After king Kashta ("the Kushite") invaded Egypt in the 8th century BCE, the Kushite kings ruled as Pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth dynasty of Egypt for a century. During Classical Antiquity, the Nubian capital was at Meroë. In early Greek geography, the Meroitic kingdom was known as Ethiopia. The Nubian kingdom at Meroe persisted until the 4th century AD.

Christianity and Islam (543–1821)

By the 6th century, fifty states had emerged as the political and cultural heirs of the Meroitic Kingdom. Nobatia in the north, also known as Ballanah, had its capital at Faras, in what is now Egypt; the central kingdom, Muqurra (Makuria), was centred at Dunqulah, about 13 kilometres (10 miles) south of modern Dunqulah; and Alawa (Alodia), in the heartland of old Meroe, which had its capital at Sawba (now a suburb of modern-day Khartoum). In all three kingdoms, warrior aristocracies ruled Meroitic populations from royal courts where functionaries bore Greek titles in emulation of the Byzantine court. A missionary sent by Byzantine empress Theodora arrived in Nobatia and started preaching Christianity about 540 AD. The Nubian kings became Monophysite Christians. However, Makuria was of the Melkite Christian faith, unlike Nobatia and Alodia.

After many attempts at military conquest failed, the Arab commander in Egypt concluded the first in a series of regularly renewed treaties known as Albaqut al-sharim (pactum) with the Nubians that governed relations between the two peoples for more than 678 years. Islam progressed in the area over a long period of time through intermarriage and contacts with Arab merchants and settlers, particularly the Sufi nobles of Arabia. Additionally, exemption from taxation in regions under Muslim rule were also a powerful incentive for conversion.[33] In 1093, a Muslim prince of Nubian royal blood ascended the throne of Dunqulah as king. The two most important Arab tribes to emerge in Nubia were the Jaali and the Juhayna. Both showed physical continuity with the indigenous pre-Islamic population. Today's northern Sudanese culture combines Nubian and Arabic elements.

During the 16th century, a people called the Funj, under a leader named Amara Dunqus, appeared in southern Nubia and supplanted the remnants of the old Christian kingdom of Alwa, establishing As-Saltana az-Zarqa (the Blue Sultanate), also called the Sultanate of Sennar. The Blue Sultanate eventually became the keystone of the Funj Empire. By the mid-16th century, Sennar controlled Al Jazirah and commanded the allegiance of vassal states and tribal districts north to the Third Cataract and south to the rainforests. The government was substantially weakened by a series of succession arguments and coups within the royal family. In 1820, Muhammad Ali of Egypt sent 4,000 troops to invade Sudan. His forces accepted Sennar's surrender from the last Funj sultan, Badi VII.

Egyptian Turks Occupation (1821–1885)

In 1820, the Albanian-Ottoman ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, had invaded and conquered northern Sudan. Although technically the Wāli of Egypt under the Ottoman Sultan, Muhammad Ali styled himself as Khedive of a virtually independent Egypt. Seeking to add Sudan to his domains, he sent his third son Ismail (not to be confused with Ismail the Magnificent mentioned later) to conquer the country, and subsequently incorporate it into Egypt. This policy was expanded and intensified by Ibrahim's son, Ismail I, under whose reign most of the remainder of modern-day Sudan was conquered. The Egyptian authorities made significant improvements to the Sudanese infrastructure (mainly in the north), especially with regard to irrigation and cotton production.

In 1879, the Great Powers forced the removal of Ismail and established his son Tewfik I in his place. Tewfik's corruption and mismanagement resulted in the Orabi Revolt, which threatened the Khedive's survival. Tewfik appealed for help to the British, who subsequently occupied Egypt in 1882. Sudan was left in the hands of the Khedivial government, and the mismanagement and corruption of its officials.[34] During the 1870s, precipitating the rise of Mahdist forces.[35][36]

Eventually, a revolt broke out in Sudan, led by Muhammad Ahmad ibn Abd Allah, the Mahdi (Guided One), who sought to end foreign presence in Sudan. Mahdi revolution succeed in January 1885. The Mahdi forces entered Khartoum and killed Gordon.[clarification needed] and the death of the British Governor-General, Charles George Gordon (also known as Gordon of Khartoum), in 1885. Egypt and Britain subsequently withdrew forces from Sudan leaving the Mahdi and his successor to form a 14 year rule of Sudan.

The Mahdist rule (1885–1899)

The Mahdiyah (Mahdist regime) did not impose Islamic laws. The new ruler's aim was more political than anything else. This was evident in the animosity he showed towards existing Muslims and locals who did not show loyalty to his system and rule. He authorised the burning of lists of pedigrees and books of law and theology as well as destruction of mosques in the north and east of Sudan. The Mahdi maintained that his movement was not a religious order that could be accepted or rejected at will, but that it was a universal regime, which challenged man to join or to be destroyed.

Originally, the Mahdiyah was a jihad state, run like a military camp. Courts enforced the regime's grip on power and the Mahdi's precepts, which had the force of law. Six months after the fall of Khartoum, the Mahdi died of typhus, and after a power struggle amongst his deputies, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad, with the help primarily of the Baqqara Arabs of western Sudan, overcame the opposition of the others and emerged as unchallenged leader of the Mahdiyah. After consolidating his power, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad assumed the title of Khalifa (successor) of the Mahdi, instituted an administration, and appointed Ansar (who were usually Baqqara) as emirs over each of the several provinces.

The Mahdist State (1881–98), inside the border of modern Sudan and South Sudan.

Regional relations remained tense throughout much of the Mahdiyah period, largely because of the Khalifa's brutal methods to extend his rule throughout the country. In 1887, a 60,000-man Ansar army invaded Ethiopia, penetrating as far as Gondar. In March 1889, king Yohannes IV of Ethiopia, marched on Metemma; however, after Yohannes fell in battle, the Ethiopian forces withdrew. Abd ar Rahman an Nujumi, the Khalifa's general, attempted an invasion of Egypt in 1889, but British-led Egyptian troops defeated the Ansar at Tushkah. The failure of the Egyptian invasion broke the spell of the Ansar's invincibility. The Belgians prevented the Mahdi's men from conquering Equatoria, and in 1893, the Italians repelled an Ansar attack at Akordat (in Eritrea) and forced the Ansar to withdraw from Ethiopia.

Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (1899–1956)

In the 1890s, the British sought to re-establish their control over Sudan, once more officially in the name of the Egyptian Khedive, but in actuality treating the country as a British colony. By the early 1890s, British, French and Belgian claims had converged at the Nile headwaters. Britain feared that the other powers would take advantage of Sudan's instability to acquire territory previously annexed to Egypt. Apart from these political considerations, Britain wanted to establish control over the Nile to safeguard a planned irrigation dam at Aswan.

"The War in the Soudan." A U.S. poster depicting British and Mahdist armies in battle, produced to advertise a Barnum & Bailey circus show titled "The Mahdi, or, For the Victoria Cross", 1897.

Lord Kitchener led military campaigns against the Mahdists from 1896 to 1898. Kitchener's campaigns culminated in a decisive victory in the Battle of Omdurman on 2 September 1898. Following this, in 1899, Britain and Egypt reached an agreement under which Sudan was run by a governor-general appointed by Egypt with British consent. In reality, much to the revulsion of Egyptian and Sudanese nationalists, Sudan was effectively administered as a British colony. The British were keen to reverse the process, started under Muhammad Ali Pasha, of uniting the Nile Valley under Egyptian leadership, and sought to frustrate all efforts aimed at further uniting the two countries. During World War II, Sudan was directly involved militarily in the East African Campaign. Formed in 1925, the Sudan Defence Force (SDF) played an active part in responding to the early incursions (occupation by Italian troops of Kassala and other border areas) into the Sudan from Italian East Africa during 1940. In 1942, the SDF also played a part in the invasion of the Italian colony by British and Commonwealth forces. From 1924 until independence in 1956, the British had a policy of running Sudan as two essentially separate territories, the north (Muslim) and south (Christian). The last British Governor-General was Sir Robert Howe.

Independence and National Rule (1956–1989)

The continued British occupation of Sudan fueled an increasingly strident nationalist backlash in Egypt, with Egyptian nationalist leaders determined to force Britain to recognise a single independent union of Egypt and Sudan. With the formal end of Ottoman rule in 1914, Hussein Kamel was declared Sultan of Egypt and Sudan, as was his brother and successor Fuad I. They continued their insistence of a single Egyptian-Sudanese state even when the Sultanate was retitled as the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan, but the British continued to frustrate such reaches for independence.

However, some historians argue that beginning of the Sudanese nationalism dates back to 1920s, immediately after World War I. In 1919, six Sudanese graduates led by Obeid Haj Elamin formed the Sudanese Unity Society, a political forum called for independence of the Sudan and unity with Egypt. In 1921, a number of Sudanese militants working in the Sudan force, a branch in the colonial British Army, joined their civilian counterparts. In 1923, Ali Abd al Latif, a former army officer, had reconstituted -with Haj Elamin- the Unity Society into a political movement called "the White Flag League", which called for the independence of Sudan. The League had organized demonstrations in Khartoum that took advantage of the unrest that followed Stack's assassination.

Leaders of the White Flag League. From the left: Hussein Sherief, Ali Abdelateef, Salih Abdelgadir and Obeid Haj Elamin.

Ali Abd al Latif's arrest and subsequent exile in Egypt sparked a mutiny by a Sudanese army battalion led by the Lieutenant Abdelfadeel Elmaz, the suppression of which succeeded in temporarily crippling the nationalist movement. i.e the well known 1924 revolution.

The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 finally heralded the beginning of the march towards Sudanese independence. Having abolished the monarchy in 1953, Egypt's new leaders, Muhammad Naguib, whose mother was Sudanese, and later Gamal Abdel-Nasser, believed the only way to end British domination in Sudan was for Egypt to officially abandon its claims of sovereignty over Sudan.

The British on the other hand continued their political and financial support for the Mahdi successor Sayyid Abdel Rahman who, they believed, could resist the Egyptian pressures for Sudanese independence. Rahman was able to resist the pressures, but his regime was plagued with political ineptitude, which garnered him a loss of support in northern and central Sudan. Egypt and Britain both sensed a great political instability forming, and opted to allow the Sudanese in the north and south to have a free vote on independence to see whether they wished for a British withdrawal.

Sudan's flag raised at independence ceremony in the 1st of January 1956 by the Prime Minister Isma'il Alazhari and in presence of opposition leader Mohamed Ahmed Almahjoub

In 1954, the governments of Egypt and Britain signed a treaty guaranteeing Sudanese independence[citation needed]. Afterwards, a polling process was carried out resulting in composition of a democratic parliament and Ismail Al-Azhari was elected first Prime Minister and led the first modern Sudanese government.[37] on 1 January 1956, in a special ceremony held at the People's Palace, the Egyptian and British flags were lowered and the new Sudanese flag, composed of green, blue and white stripes, was raised in their place by the prime minister Isma'il Alazhari.

Military Coup d'état (1989–present)

On 30 June 1989, colonel Omar al-Bashir led a group of army officers in ousting the unstable coalition government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi in a bloodless military coup.[8] Under al-Bashir's leadership, the new military government suspended political parties and introduced an Islamic legal code on the national level.[38] He then became Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (a newly established body with legislative and executive powers for what was described as a transitional period), and assumed the posts of chief of state, prime minister, chief of the armed forces, and minister of defense.[39] Subsequent to al-Bashir's promotion to the Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, he allied himself with Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the National Islamic Front (NIF), who along with al-Bashir began institutionalizing Sharia law in the northern part of Sudan. Further on, al-Bashir issued purges and executions in the upper ranks of the army, the banning of associations, political parties, and independent newspapers and the imprisonment of leading political figures and journalists.[40]

On 16 October 1993, al-Bashir's powers increased when he appointed himself President of the country, after which he disbanded the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation and all other rival political parties. The executive and legislative powers of the council were later given to al-Bashir completely.[41] In the 1996 national election, where he was the only candidate by law to run for election,[12] al-Bashir transformed Sudan into a single-party state and created the National Congress Party (NCP) with a new parliament and government obtained solely by members of the NCP.[42] During the 1990s, Hassan al-Turabi, then Speaker of the National Assembly, reached out to Islamic fundamentalist groups, as well as allowing them to operate out of Sudan, even personally inviting Osama bin Laden to the country.[21] The United States subsequently listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism[22] The U.S bombed Sudan in 1998 and U.S. firms were barred from doing business in Sudan.[43] Further on, al-Turabi's influence and that of his party's "'internationalist' and ideological wing" waned "in favor of the 'nationalist' or more pragmatic leaders who focus on trying to recover from Sudan's disastrous international isolation and economic damage that resulted from ideological adventurism."[44] At the same time Sudan worked to appease the United States and other international critics by expelling members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and encouraging bin Laden to leave.[45] Prior to the 2000 presidential election, al-Turabi introduced a bill to reduce the President's powers, prompting al-Bashir to dissolve parliament and declare a state of emergency. After al-Turabi urged a boycott of the President's re-election campaign and signed an agreement with Sudan People's Liberation Army, Omar al-Bashir suspected they were plotting to overthrow him and the government,[46] thus jailing Hassan al-Turabi that same year.[47] [Due to significant cultural, social, political, ethnic and economic changes in short amounts of time, conflicts were evolved in western and eastern provinces of Sudan in addition to an escalating conflict in Southern Sudan. Since the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), several violent struggles between the Janjaweed militia and rebel groups such as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the form of guerilla warfare in the Darfur, Red Sea and Equatoria regions have occurred. These conflicts have resulted in death tolls between 200,000[13] and 400,000,[11][48][49] over 2.5 million people being displaced[50] and diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad being put under very great strain.[51]

Civil War and Secession of South Sudan

In 1955, the year before independence, a civil war began between Northern and Southern Sudan. The southerners, anticipating independence, feared the new nation would be dominated by the north. Historically, the north of Sudan had closer ties with Egypt and was predominantly Arab or Arabized and Muslim while the south was predominantly non-Arabized and animist or Christian. These divisions had been further emphasized by the British policy of ruling the north and south under separate administrations. From 1924, it was illegal for people living north of the 10th parallel to go further south and for people south of the 8th parallel to go further north. The law was ostensibly enacted to prevent the spread of malaria and other tropical diseases that had ravaged British troops, as well as to facilitate spreading Christianity among the predominantly animist population while stopping the Arabic and Islamic influence from advancing south. The result was increased isolation between the already distinct north and south and arguably laid the seeds of conflict in the years to come.

The resulting conflict lasted from 1955 to 1972. The 1955 war began when Southern army officers mutinied and then formed the Anya-Nya guerilla movement. A few years later the first Sudanese military regime took power under Major-General Abboud. Military regimes continued into 1969 when General Gaafar Nimeiry led a successful coup.[52]

In 1972, a cessation of the north-south conflict was agreed upon under the terms of the Addis Ababa Agreement, following talks which were sponsored by the World Council of Churches. This led to a ten-year hiatus in the national conflict with the south enjoying self-government through the formation of the Southern Sudan Autonomous Region.

In 1983, the civil war was reignited following President Gaafar Nimeiry's decision to circumvent the Addis Ababa Agreement[citation needed]. Nimeiry attempted to create a federated Sudan including states in southern Sudan, which violated the Addis Ababa Agreement that had granted the south considerable autonomy. He appointed a committee to undertake "a substantial review of the Addis Ababa Agreement, especially in the areas of security arrangements, border trade, language, culture and religion".[53] Mansour Khalid, a former foreign minister, wrote: “Nimeiri had never been genuinely committed to the principles of the Addis Ababa Agreement".[54] When asked about revisions he stated "The Addis Ababa agreement is myself and Joseph Lagu and we want it that way... I am 300 percent the constitution. I do not know of any plebiscite because I am mandated by the people as the President".[55] Southern troops rebelled against the northern political offensive, and launched attacks in June 1983.

In September 1983, the situation was exacerbated when Nimeiry's[clarification needed] culminated the 1977 revisions by imposing new Islamic laws on all of Sudan, including the non-Muslim south.

In 1995, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiated the longest ceasefire in the history of the war to allow humanitarian aid to enter Southern Sudan, which had been inaccessible owing to violence.[56] This ceasefire, which lasted almost six months, has since been called the "Guinea Worm Ceasefire."[56] Since 1983, a combination of civil war and famine has taken the lives of nearly 2 million people in Sudan.[57] The war continued even after Nimeiry was ousted and a democratic government was elected with Al Sadiq Al Mahdi's Umma Party having the majority in the parliament. The leader of the SPLA John Garang refused to recognize the government and to negotiate with it as representative of Sudan but agreed to negotiate with government officials as representative of their political parties.[citation needed] The Sudanese Army successfully advanced in the south, reaching the southern borders with neighbouring Kenya and Uganda. The campaign started in 1989 and ended in 1994. During the fight the situation worsened in the tribal south causing casualties among the Christian and animist minority.[58] Rebel leader Riek Machar subsequently signed a peace agreement with the Sudanese government and became Vice President of Sudan. His troops took part in the fight against the SPLA during the government offensive in the 1990s. After the Sudanese army took control of the entire south with the help of Machar, the situation improved. In time, however, the SPLA sought support in the West by using the northern Sudanese government's religious propaganda to portray the war as a campaign by the Arab Islamic government to impose Islam and the Arabic language on the animist and Christian south.

The war went on for more than twenty years, including the use of Russian-made combat helicopters and military cargo planes that were used as bombers to devastating effect on villages and tribal rebels alike. "Sudan's independent history has been dominated by chronic, exceptionally cruel warfare that has starkly divided the country on ethnic, religious, and regional grounds; displaced an estimated four million people (of a total estimated population of thirty-two million); and killed an estimated two million people."[59] It damaged Sudan's economy and led to food shortages, resulting in starvation and malnutrition. The lack of investment during this time, particularly in the south, meant a generation lost access to basic health services, education and jobs.

Peace agreement dancers in Kapoeta, Eastern Equatoria (now in South Sudan), 2006

Peace talks between the southern rebels and the government made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004. The peace was consolidated with the official signing by both sides of the Nairobi Comprehensive Peace Agreement on 9 January 2005, granting Southern Sudan autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum about independence. It created a co-vice president position and allowed the north and south to split oil deposits equally, but also left both the north's and south's armies in place. John Garang, the south's peace agreement appointed co-vice president, died in a helicopter crash on 1 August 2005, three weeks after being sworn in. This resulted in riots, but peace was eventually restored. The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was established under the UN Security Council Resolution 1590 of 24 March 2005. Its mandate is to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and to perform functions relating to humanitarian assistance, and protection and promotion of human rights. In October 2007 the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) withdrew from government in protest over slow implementation of a landmark 2005 peace deal which ended the civil war.

The referendum was negotiated under the auspices of Intergovernmental Organization Authority for Development IGAD, the regional organization of which Sudan is a member. Despite its role in finalizing the peace process, the debate around it increasingly became argumentative. According to a Wikileaks cable, the Khartoum Government along with the Egyptian government had been trying to delay or indefinitely adjourn the referendum. However, the southern leadership, the United Nations, and the whole region remained determined to hold vote as scheduled. As such, the vote continued. On January 9, 2011, the referendum was held worldwide; the South Sudanese diaspora who voted included those from the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Europe and East Africa. The result showed 98.9% in favour of secession.

The southern region became independent on July 9, 2011, with the name of South Sudan. Despite this result, many crucial issues are yet to be resolved, some of which requiring international intervention. The threats to people of South Sudan after referendum are numerous, with security topping the list. Other threats include disputes over the region of Abyei, control over oil fields, the borders, and the issue of citizenship.

In August 2011, Sudan voted to rename its country "North Sudan" reflecting that both "Sudan" countries are separate, though its citizens still call themselves Sudanese.[citation needed]

Abyei situation

The issue of Abyei is a grave matter in terms of bringing lasting peace to the country. According to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the region of Abyei must hold its own referendum, and decide whether to go with the south, or remain with Sudan. As such, the CPA set forth two referenda in Sudan, the South Sudan referendum as to whether to split from Sudan and the Abyei referendum as to whether to join South Sudan in its secession. Nevertheless, the voting in Abyei didn’t happen as stipulated largely because of the dispute over who has the right to vote in the region. Until now the referendum on Abyei is yet to be rescheduled, and the tension is rising in the region. The Government of Sudan is calling for all the residents of Abyei to take part in the referendum while the SPLA/M wants to exclude none Dinka resident. Recently, the standing Abyei committee has formed a new committee called the Joint Technical Committee to look at the case again, as well as the case of Kadugli.

Many humanitarian aid and relief services, such as the World Food Program, World Vision, Oxfam, Cordaid and Care International, have a large[ambiguous] presence in the area. Secession from Sudan will not necessarily solve the economic problems for Abyei. Further, the situation in Abyei is worsening in terms of security and dispute over land now that South Sudan has become independent.

Darfur conflict

Map highlighting the Darfur region of Sudan

Just as the long north-south civil war was reaching a resolution, some clashes occurred in the Muslim western region of Darfur in the early 1970s between the pastoral tribes. The rebels accused the central government of neglecting the Darfur region economically. Both the government and the rebels have been accused of atrocities in this war, although most of the blame has fallen on Arabic speaking nomads militias known as the Janjaweed, which are armed men appointed by the Al Saddiq Al Mahdi administration to stop the longstanding chaotic disputes between Darfur tribes. According to declarations by the U.S. government, these militias have been engaging in genocide, the UN and African Union does not agree with the genocide label; the fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, many of them seeking refuge in neighbouring Chad. The government claimed victory over the rebels after capturing a town on the border with Chad in early 1994. However, the fighting resumed in 2003.

On 9 September 2004, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell termed the Darfur conflict a genocide, claiming it as the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century.[60] There have been reports that the Janjawid has been launching raids, bombings, and attacks on villages, killing civilians based on ethnicity, raping women, stealing land, goods, and herds of livestock. So far, over 2.5 million civilians have been displaced and the death toll is variously estimated from 200,000[13] to 400,000 killed.[14] These figures have remained stagnant since initial UN reports of the conflict hinted at genocide in 2003/2004. Genocide has been considered a criminal offense under international humanitarian law since the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[61]

On 5 May 2006, the Sudanese government and Darfur's largest rebel group, the SLM (Sudanese Liberation Movement), signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, which aimed at ending the three-year-long conflict.[62] The agreement specified the disarmament of the Janjaweed and the disbandment of the rebel forces, and aimed at establishing a temporal government in which the rebels could take part.[63] The agreement, which was brokered by the African Union, however, was not signed by all of the rebel groups.[63] Only one rebel group, the SLA, led by Minni Arko Minnawi, signed the agreement.[64]

A mother with her sick child at Abu Shouk IDP camp in North Darfur.

Since the agreement was signed, however, there have been reports of widespread violence throughout the region. A new rebel group has emerged called the National Redemption Front, which is made up of the four main rebel groups that refused to sign the May peace agreement.[65] Recently,[when?] both the Sudanese government and government-sponsored militias have launched large offensives against the rebel groups, resulting in more deaths and more displacements. Clashes among the rebel groups have also contributed to the violence.[65] Recent[when?] fighting along the Chad border has left hundreds of soldiers and rebel forces dead and nearly a quarter of a million refugees cut off from aid.[66] In addition, villages have been bombed and more civilians have been killed. UNICEF recently[when?] reported that around eighty infants die each day in Darfur as a result of malnutrition. The hunger in the Darfur region is still concerning many developed countries in the world.

The people in Darfur are predominantly non-Arabized members of the Darfur tribe who adhere to Islam. While the Janjawid militia is made up of Arabized indigenous Africans; the majority of other Arab groups in Darfur remain uninvolved in the conflict.[67]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs Ahmed Haroun and alleged Muslim Janjawid militia leader Ali Mohammed Ali, also known as Ali Kosheib, in relation to the atrocities in the region. Ahmed Haroun belongs to the Bargou tribe, one of the non-Arab tribes of Darfur, and is alleged to have incited attacks on specific non-Arab ethnic groups. Ali Kosheib is a former soldier and a leader of the popular defense forces, and is alleged to be one of the key leaders responsible for attacks on villages in west Darfur.

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Darfur, Luis Moreno Ocampo, announced on 14 July 2008, ten criminal charges against Bashir, accusing him of sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity.[68] The ICC's prosecutors have claimed that al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity The Arab League, African Union, and France support Sudan's efforts to suspend the ICC investigation.[69] They are willing to consider Article 16 of the ICC's Rome Statute, which states ICC investigations can be suspended for one year if the investigation endangers the peace process.[70]

Chad-Sudan conflict

The Chad-Sudan Conflict (2005–2007) officially started on 23 December 2005, when the government of Chad declared a state of war with Sudan and called for the citizens of Chad to mobilize themselves against the "common enemy"[71]—the United Front for Democratic Change, a coalition of rebel factions dedicated to overthrowing Chadian President Idriss Déby (and who the Chadians believe are backed by the Sudanese government), and Sudanese janjawid, who have been raiding refugee camps and certain tribes in eastern Chad. Déby accuses Sudanese President Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir of trying to "destabilize our country, to drive our people into misery, to create disorder and export the war from Darfur to Chad."

The problem prompting the declaration of war was an attack on the Chadian town of Adré near the Sudanese border that led to the deaths of either one hundred rebels (as most news sources reported) or three hundred rebels. The Sudanese government was blamed for the attack, which was the second in the region in three days,[72] but Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman Jamal Mohammed Ibrahim denied any Sudanese involvement, "We are not for any escalation with Chad. We technically deny involvement in Chadian internal affairs." The Battle of Adré led to the declaration of war by Chad and the alleged deployment of the Chadian air force into Sudanese airspace, which the Chadian government denies.[73]

The leaders of Sudan and Chad signed an agreement in Saudi Arabia on 3 May 2007 to stop fighting from the Darfur conflict along their countries' 1,000-kilometre (600 mi) border.[74]

Eastern Front

The Eastern Front, whose chairman is the current presidential adviser Mr. Musa Mohamed Ahmed, was a coalition of rebel groups operating in eastern Sudan along the border with Eritrea, particularly the states of Red Sea and Kassala. While the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) was the primary member of the Eastern Front, the SPLA was obliged to leave by the January 2005 agreement that ended the Second Sudanese Civil War. Their place was taken in February 2004 after the merger of the larger Beja Congress with the smaller Rashaida Free Lions, two tribal-based groups of the non-Arabized Beja and the Arab Rashaida people, respectively.[75]

Both the Free Lions and the Beja Congress stated that government inequity in the distribution of oil profits, and for the Beja the often uncompromising Arabization campaign of the central government, was the cause of their rebellion. They demanded to have a greater say in the composition of the national government, which has been seen as a destabilizing influence on the agreement ending the conflict in Southern Sudan.[citation needed]

The Eritrean government in mid-2006 dramatically changed its position on the conflict. From being the main supporter of the Eastern Front, it decided that bringing the Sudanese government around the negotiating table for a possible agreement with the rebels would be in its best interests.[citation needed]

It was successful in its attempts and on 19 June 2006, the two sides signed an agreement on declaration of principles.[76] This was the start of four months of Eritrean-mediated negotiations for a comprehensive peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front, which culminated in signing of a peace agreement on 14 October 2006, in Asmara. The agreement covers security issues, power sharing at a federal and regional level, and wealth sharing in regards to the three Eastern states Kassala, Red Sea and Al Qadarif.[citation needed] One of the agreements made between the Khartoum government and the Eastern Front was that Khartoum would push for international arbitration to solve the situation in the disputed Hala'ib Triangle which has been under Egyptian military annexation since 1995.

In July 2007, many areas of the country were devastated by flooding, prompting an immediate humanitarian response by the United Nations and partners, under the leadership of acting United Nations Resident Coordinators David Gressly and Oluseyi Bajulaiye.[77] Over 400,000 people were directly affected, with over 3.5 million at risk of epidemics.[78] The United Nations has allocated US$ 13.5 million for the response from its pooled funds, but will launch an appeal to the international community to cover the gap.[79] The humanitarian crisis is in danger of worsening. Following attacks in Darfur, the U.N. World Food Programme announced it could stop food aid to some parts of Darfur.[80] Banditry against truck convoys is one of the biggest problems, as it impedes the delivery of food assistance to war-stricken areas and forces a cut in monthly rations.

Government and politics

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir (January 2009)

Officially, the politics of Sudan takes place in the framework of a federal presidential representative democratic republic, where the President of Sudan is head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the Sudan People's Armed Forces in a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the bicameral parliament — the National Legislature, with its National Assembly (lower chamber) and the Council of States (upper chamber). The judiciary is independent and obtained by the Constitutional Court.[11]

However, following the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005) and the now-low-scale war in Darfur, Sudan is widely recognized as an authoritarian state where all effective political power is obtained by President Omar al-Bashir and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). The political system of the Republic of Sudan was restructured following a military coup on 30 June 1989, when al-Bashir, then a colonel in the Sudanese Army, led a group of officers and ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. Under al-Bashir's leadership, the new military government suspended political parties and introduced an Islamic legal code on the national level.[38]

He then became Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (a newly established body with legislative and executive powers for what was described as a transitional period), and assumed the posts of chief of state, prime minister, chief of the armed forces and minister of defense.[39] Further on, after institutionalizing Sharia law in the northern part of the country along with Hassan al-Turabi, al-Bashir issued purges and executions in the upper ranks of the army, the banning of associations, political parties, and independent newspapers and the imprisonment of leading political figures and journalists.[40]

In 1993, Sudan was transformed into an Islamic authoritarian single-party state as al-Bashir abolished the Revolutionary Command Council and created the National Islamic Front (NIF) with a new parliament and government obtained solely by members of the NIF. At the same time, the structure of regional administration was replaced by the creation of twenty-six states, each headed by a governor, thus making Sudan a federal republic. As a result, the Second Sudanese Civil War with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) would only escalate in the following years.[46][47]

Following the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government of al-Bashir and the SPLA, a government of national unity was installed in Sudan in accordance with the Interim Constitution whereby a co-Sudan Vice President position representing the south was created in addition to the northern Sudanese Vice President. This allowed the north and south to split oil deposits equally,[81] but also left both the north's and south's armies in place. Following the Darfur Peace Agreement in 2006, the office of senior presidential advisor was allocated to Minni Minnawi, a Zaghawa of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), and, thus, became the fourth-highest constitutional post.

Executive posts are divided between the NCP, the SPLA, the Sudanese Eastern Front and factions of the Umma Party and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). This peace agreement with the rebel group SPLA granted Southern Sudan autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum about independence in 2011.

According to the new 2005 constitution, the bicameral National Legislature is the official Sudanese parliament and is divided between two chambers — the National Assembly, a lower house with 450 seats, and the Council of States, an upper house with 50 seats. Thus the parliament consists of 500 appointed members altogether, where all are indirectly elected by state legislatures to serve six-year terms.[11]

Despite his international arrest warrant, al-Bashir was a candidate in the 2010 Sudanese presidential election, the first democratic election with multiple political parties participating in twenty-four years.[82] In the build-up to the vote, Sudanese pro-democracy activists say they faced intimidation by the government[83] and the International Crisis Group reported that the ruling party had gerrymandered electoral districts.[84] A few days before the vote, the main opposition candidate, Yasir Arman from the SPLM, withdrew from the race.[85] The U.S.-based Carter Center, which helped monitor the elections, described the vote tabulation process as "highly chaotic, non-transparent and vulnerable to electoral manipulation."[86] Al-Bashir was declared the winner of the election with sixty-eight percent of the vote.[82] There was considerable concern amongst the international community of a return to violence in the run-up to the January 2011 southern Sudan referendum, with post-referendum issues such as oil-revenue sharing and border demarcation not yet resolved.[87]

Foreign relations

Sudan has had a troubled relationship with many of its neighbours and much of the international community, owing to what is viewed as its radical Islamic stance. For much of the 1990s, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia formed an ad-hoc alliance called the "Front Line States" with support from the United States to check the influence of the National Islamic Front government. The Sudanese Government supported anti-Ugandan rebel groups such as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). But in the early 1980s, at the time of President Gaafar Nimeiry, who took power on May 25, 1969, Sudan had a good relationship with the West. In early 1983, South Sudanese revolted against the government and formed the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) movement. Like many other African nationalist movements, SPLA was initially tied with Cuba, Russia, and other communist states. For this reason, the Khartoum government used the links effectively to woo Western states for support in its war against the SPLA. Nevertheless, the relationship was short-lived. In 1998, the Khartoum government was sanctioned for collaborating with terrorist organizations. From the mid-1990s, Sudan gradually began to moderate its positions as a result of increased U.S. pressure following the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, in Tanzania and Kenya, and the new development of oil fields previously in rebel hands. Sudan also has a territorial dispute with Egypt over the Hala'ib Triangle. Since 2003, the foreign relations of Sudan have centred on the support for ending the Second Sudanese Civil War and condemnation of government support for militias in the war in Darfur.

Shortly after the Islamic Conservatists seized power in a coup in 1989, Sudan increasingly became a fundamentalist Islamic state. In addition, the National Islamic Front engaged in both regional and international terrorism. For example the NIF was accused of supporting Egyptian Jihad against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The assassination attempt against the Egyptian president was largely blamed on the Khartoum government. Sudan's relation with its eastern neighbour Eritrea was very rocky for the same reason. In December 1995, Eritrea accused Khartoum of supporting its Islamic rebels. As a result, Eritrea severed ties with the Khartoum government. Other neighboring countries such as Uganda and Chad have taken the same course. Hence, the National Islamic Front ultimately stands alone in the region. In 1990s, Al Qaeda leader bin-Laden joined the regime and Sudan became a safehaven for terrorism. As the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum gradually emerged as a real threat to the region and the world, the U.S. began to list Sudan on its list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Before that, the Clinton administration bombed a Khartoum suspected site in 1998, known as Al Shifa Pharmaceutical Factory. The U.S. believed that the place was used for chemical weapons connected with the Al Qaeda network. According to Bob Edward, the Secretary of State Warren Christopher has added Sudan to the list of countries that sponsor terrorist in the State Department. After the US listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, the NIF decided to develop relations with Iraq, and later Iran, the two most controversial countries and Islamists states in the region: they were also in old with America. Accusations against the National Islam Front of Khartoum range from state sponsor terrorism to its affiliation with radical group such as Palestinian and Iranian regimes.

Sudan has extensive economic relations with China. China obtains ten percent of its oil from Sudan. According to a former Sudanese government minister, China is Sudan’s largest supplier of arms.[88]

On 23 December 2005, Sudan's neighbour to the west, Chad, declared war on Sudan and accused the country of being the "common enemy of the nation [Chad]." This happened after the 18 December attack on Adré, which left about one hundred people dead. A statement issued by Chadian government on 23 December accused Sudanese militias of making daily raids into Chad, thereby stealing cattle, killing people and burning villages on the Chadian border. The statement went on to call for Chadians to form a patriotic front against Sudan.[71]

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC, formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference) has called on Sudan and Chad to exercise self-restraint to defuse growing tensions between the two countries.[89] On 11 May 2008, Sudan announced it was cutting diplomatic relations with Chad, claiming that it was helping rebels in Darfur to attack the Sudanese capital Khartoum.[90]

On 27 December 2005, Sudan became one of the few states to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.[91]

On 20 June 2006, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir told reporters that he would not allow any UN peacekeeping force into Sudan. He denounced any such mission as "colonial forces."[92] On 17 November 2006, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that "Sudan has agreed in principle to allow the establishment of a joint African Union and UN peacekeeping force in an effort to solve the crisis in Darfur" — but had stopped short of setting the number of troops involved. Annan speculated that this force could number 17,000.[93]

Despite this claim, no additional troops had been deployed as of late December 2006. On 31 July 2007, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1769, authorizing the deployment of UN forces.[94] Violence continued in the region and on 15 December 2006, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) stated they would be proceeding with cases of human-rights violations against members of the Sudanese government.[95] A Sudanese legislator was quoted as saying that Khartoum may permit UN peacekeepers to patrol Darfur in exchange for immunity from prosecution for officials charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Armed forces

The Sudan People's Armed Forces is the regular forces of the Republic of Sudan and is divided into five branches; the Sudanese Army, Sudanese Navy (including the Marine Corps), Sudanese Air Force, Border Patrol and the Internal Affairs Defense Force, totalling about 200,000 troops. The military of Sudan has become a well-equipped fighting force, thanks to increasing local production of heavy and advanced arms. These forces are under the command of the National Assembly and its strategic principles include defending Sudan's external borders and preserve internal security.

However, since the Darfur crisis in 2004, safe-keeping the central government from the armed resistance and rebellion of paramilitary rebel groups such as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have been important priorities. While not official, the Sudanese military also uses nomad militias, the most prominent being the Janjaweed, in executing a counter-insurgency war.[96] Somewhere between 200,000[13] and 400,000[11][48][49] people have died in the violent struggles.

International organizations in Sudan

Most of the NGOs operating in Sudan are UN agents such as the World Food Program (WFP); the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation (FAO); the United Nations Development Program (UNDP); the United Nations Industrial Development Organizations (UNIDO); the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF); the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the United Nations Mine Service (UNMAS); the International Organization for Migration (IOM);[97] and the United Nations office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).[98]

Since Sudan has experienced civil war for many years, many NGOs (Nongovernmental Organizations) are involved in humanitarian efforts to help internally displaced people. Among the NGOs involved are CIDA, the Red Cross, The World Bank, and United Nations agents. The NGOs are working in every corner of Sudan especially in the southern part of the country. During the civil war, international nongovernmental organizations such as the Red Cross were operating mostly in the south, but based in the capital Khartoum.[99] The attention of NGOs shifted shortly after the war broke out in the western part of the Sudan known as Darfur. Nevertheless, the majority of NGOs are in southern Sudan. The most visible organization is Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS).[100]

Even though most of the international organizations are substantially concentrated in both South Sudan and Darfur region, some of them are working in northern part as well. For example the United Nations Industrial Development Organization is successfully operating in Khartoum, the capital. It is mainly funded by the European Union and recently opened more vocational training. There are about twelve different international nongovernmental organizations operating in Sudan. The Canadian International Development Agency CIDA is also operation largely in the northern Sudan.[101]

Legal system

The legal system in Sudan is based on English common law and Islamic sharia. Islamic law was implemented in all of the north as of September 1983, by Jafar An-Numeri, the Second Sudanese Military Dictator; this applied to all residents of the Sudan regardless of their religion. The 2005 Naivasha Agreement, ending the civil war between north and south Sudan, established some protections for non-Muslims in Khartoum. International Court of Justice jurisdiction is accepted, though with reservations. Under the terms of the Naivasha Agreement, Islamic law did not apply in the south.[102] Since the secession of South Sudan there is some uncertainty as to whether Sharia law will now apply to the non-Muslim minorities present in Sudan, especially because of contradictory statements by al-Bashir on the matter.[103]

The judicial branch of the Sudanese government consists of a Constitutional Court of nine justices, the National Supreme Court and National Courts of Appeal, and other national courts; the National Judicial Service Commission provides overall management for the judiciary.

Human rights

Southern Sudan

As early as 1995, international rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and CASMAS have reported that slavery in Sudan is a common fate of captives in the Second Sudanese Civil War and rebels fighting in the Sudan People's Liberation Army in connections to the war in Darfur, while the 2002 report issued by the International Eminent Persons Group, acting with the encouragement of the U.S. State Department, found the SPLA and pro-government militias guilty of abduction of civilians as well.[104]

While the Sudanese government denies these allegations, Rift Valley Institute's Sudan Abductee Database claim over 11,000 people were abducted in twenty years of slave-raiding in the southern regions,[105] while mentions that hundreds of thousands have been abducted into slavery, fled or are otherwise unaccounted for in a second genocide in southern Sudan.[106]

Although South Sudan proper became independent in July 2011, allegations of human rights abuses continue to dog the Sudanese government amidst its efforts to pacify rebellion in the southern state of South Kordofan.


A letter dated 14 August 2006, from the executive director of Human Rights Watch found that the Sudanese government is both incapable of protecting its own citizens in Darfur and unwilling to do so, and that its militias are guilty of crimes against humanity. The letter added that these human-rights abuses have existed since 2004.[107] Some reports attribute part of the violations to the rebels as well as the government and the Janjaweed. The U.S. State Department's human-rights report issued in March 2007 claims that "[a]ll parties to the conflagration committed serious abuses, including widespread killing of civilians, rape as a tool of war, systematic torture, robbery and recruitment of child soldiers."[108]

Both government forces and militias allied with the government are known to attack not only civilians in Darfur, but also humanitarian workers. Sympathizers of rebel groups are arbitrarily detained, as are foreign journalists, human-rights defenders, student activists and displaced people in and around Khartoum, some of whom face torture. The rebel groups have also been accused in a report issued by the U.S. government of attacking humanitarian workers and of killing innocent civilians.[109]

States and regions

Political map of Sudan. Hala'ib Triangle has been under Egyptian administration since 2000.

Sudan is divided into fifteen states (wilayat, sing. wilayah). They are further divided into 133 districts.

  • Al Jazirah
  • Al Qadarif
  • Blue Nile
  • Kassala
  • Khartoum

Regional bodies and areas of conflict

In addition to the states, there also exist regional administrative bodies established by peace agreements between the central government and rebel groups.

  Central and northern states
  South Kurdufan and Blue Nile states

Regional administrative bodies

  • The Transitional Darfur Regional Authority was established by the Darfur Peace Agreement to act as a co-ordinating body for the three states that make up the region of Darfur.
  • The Eastern Sudan States Coordinating Council was established by the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement between the Sudanese Government and the rebel Eastern Front to act as a coordinating body for the three eastern states.
  • The Abyei Area, located on the border between Southern Sudan and the Republic of Sudan, currently has a special administrative status and is governed by an Abyei Area Administration. It was due to hold a referendum in 2011 on whether to join an independent South Sudan or remain part of the Republic of Sudan.

Disputed areas and zones of conflict

  • The states of South Kurdufan and Blue Nile are to hold "popular consultations" to determine their constitutional future within the Republic of Sudan.
  • The Hala'ib triangle is disputed region between Sudan and Egypt. It is currently under Egyptian administration.
  • The Abyei Area is disputed region between Sudan and South Sudan. It is currently under Sudan but the UN will take over in a month.
  • Bir Tawil is a terra nullius occurring on the border between Egypt and Sudan, claimed by neither state.
  • Radom National Park was a part of Bahr el Ghazal in 1956[110]. The Republic of Sudan has recognized South Sudan independence according to the borders for January, 1st, 1956.[111]


Satellite image of Sudan

Sudan is situated in northern Africa, with a 853 km (530 mi) coastline bordering the Red Sea.[112] With an area of 1,886,068 km2 (728,215 sq mi), it is the third largest country on the continent (after Algeria and DR Congo) and the sixteenth largest in the world. Sudan lies mostly between latitudes 8° and 22°N (the Wadi Halfa Salient and disputed Hala'ib triangle are north of 22°), and longitudes 21° and 39°E.

The terrain is generally flat plains, broken by several mountain ranges; in the west the Deriba Caldera (3,042 m/9,980 ft), located in the Marrah Mountains, is the highest point in Sudan; in the east are the Red Sea Hills.[113]

The Blue and White Nile rivers meet in Khartoum to form the River Nile, which flows northwards through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. The Blue Nile's course through Sudan is nearly 800 km (497 mi) long and is joined by the Dinder and Rahad Rivers between Sennar and Khartoum. The White Nile within Sudan has no significant tributaries.

The amount of rainfall increases towards the south. In the north there is the very dry Nubian Desert; in the south there are swamps and rainforest. Sudan’s rainy season lasts for about three months (July to September) in the north, and up to six months (June to November) in the south. The dry regions are plagued by sandstorms, known as haboob, which can completely block out the sun. In the northern and western semi-desert areas, people rely on the scant rainfall for basic agriculture and many are nomadic, travelling with their herds of sheep and camels. Nearer the River Nile, there are well-irrigated farms growing cash crops.[114]

There are several dams on the Blue and White Niles. Among them are the Sennar and Roseires Dams on the Blue Nile, and the Jebel Aulia Dam on the White Nile. There is also Lake Nubia on the Sudanese-Egyptian border.

Rich mineral resources are available in Sudan including:[115]

Desertification is a serious problem in Sudan.[116] There is also concern over soil erosion. Agricultural expansion, both public and private, has proceeded without conservation measures. The consequences have manifested themselves in the form of deforestation, soil desiccation, and the lowering of soil fertility and the water table.[117]

Oil and Gas Concessions in Sudan and South Sudan – 2004

The nation's wildlife is threatened by hunting. As of 2001, twenty-one mammal species and nine bird species are endangered, as well as two species of plants. Endangered species include: the waldrapp, Northern White Rhinoceros, Tora Hartebeest, Slender-horned Gazelle, and hawksbill turtle. The Sahara oryx has become extinct in the wild.[118]

In May 2007, it was announced that hundreds of wild elephants had been located on a previously unknown, treeless island in the Sudd swampland region of southern Sudan. The exact location was being kept secret to protect the animals from poachers.[119]


In 2010, Sudan was considered the 17th-fastest-growing economy[120] in the world and the rapid development of the country largely from oil profits even when facing international sanctions was noted by the The New York Times in a 2006 article.[121] Due to the secession of South Sudan, which contained over 80 percent of Sudan's oilfields, the economic forecast for Sudan in 2011 and beyond is uncertain.

Even with the oil profits before the secession of South Sudan, Sudan still faced formidable economic problems, and its growth was still a rise from a very low level of per capita output. In any case, the economy in the Sudan has been slowly growing over the last ten years, and according to a World Bank report the overall growth in GDP in 2010 was 5.2 percent compared to 2009 growth of 4.2 percent.[122] This growth was sustained even during the crisis in Darfur and period of southern autonomy preceding South Sudan's independence.[123][124]

While historically agriculture remains the main source of income and employment hiring of over 80 percent of Sudanese, and makes up a third of the economic sector, oil production drove most of Sudan's post-2000 growth. Currently, the International Monetary Fund IMF is working hand in hand with Khartoum government to strengthened macroeconomic theory. The program has been in place since early 90s, and also work-out exchange rate and reserve of foreign exchange.[122] Since 1997, Sudan has been implementing the macroeconomic reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund.[citation needed]

In 1999, Sudan began exporting crude oil and in the last quarter of 1999, recorded its first trade surplus. Increased oil production (the current[when?] production is about 520,000 barrels per day (83,000 m3/d)) revived light industry, and expanded export processing zones helped sustain gross domestic product (GDP) growth at 6.1 percent in 2003. These gains, along with improvements to monetary policy, have stabilized the exchange rate. The People's Republic of China is Sudan's largest economic partner, with a 40 percent share in its oil.[125] The country also sells Sudan small arms, which have been used in military operations such as the conflicts in Darfur and South Kordofan.[126]

Oil was Sudan's main export, with production increasing dramatically during the late 2000s, in the years before South Sudan gained independence in July 2011. With rising oil revenues, the Sudanese economy was booming, with a growth rate of about nine percent in 2007. Sustained growth was expected the next year in 2008 due to not only increasing oil production, but also to the boost of hydroelectricity (annual electricity yield of 5.5 TWh) provided by the Merowe Dam. The independence of oil-rich South Sudan, however, placed most major oilfields out of the Sudanese government's direct control. In order to export oil, South Sudan must rely on a pipeline to Port Sudan on Sudan's Red Sea coast, as South Sudan itself is landlocked, as well as on Sudan's superior refinery infrastructure. The exact terms of a revenue-splitting agreement between Juba and Khartoum have yet to be established, but Sudan will likely receive a significant portion of the income from South Sudan's oil sales as a fee for the use of Sudanese pipelines, refineries, and port facilities, perhaps as much as 50 percent of the profits.[127]

Rich mineral resources are available in Sudan including: petroleum, natural gas, gold, silver, chromite, asbestos, manganese, gypsum, mica, zinc, iron, lead, uranium, copper, kaolin, cobalt, granite, nickel, tin and aluminum.

Agriculture production remains Sudan's most-important sector, employing eighty percent of the workforce and contributing thirty-nine percent of GDP, but most farms remain rain-fed and susceptible to drought. Instability, adverse weather and weak world-agricultural prices ensures that much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years.

The Merowe Dam, also known as Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a large construction project in Northern Sudan, about 350 kilometres (220 mi) north of the capital, Khartoum. It is situated on the River Nile, close to the Fourth Cataract where the river divides into multiple smaller branches with large islands in between. Merowe is a city about 40 kilometres (25 mi) downstream from the dam's construction site.

The main purpose of the dam will be the generation of electricity. Its dimensions make it the largest contemporary hydropower project in Africa. The construction of the dam was finished December 2008, supplying more than ninety percent of the population with electricity. Other gas-powered generating stations are operational in Khartoum State and other States.


A Nubian wedding
Beja nomads
Bedouin in north
Rashaida in the east
File:Sudan 2010 population density3.png
Sudan population density (person per Km2).

In Sudan's 2008 census, the population of Northern, Western and Eastern Sudan was recorded to be over 30 million.[128] This puts present estimates of the population of Sudan after the secession of South Sudan at a little over 30 million people. This is a significant increase over the past two decades as the 1983 census put the total population of Sudan, including present-day South Sudan, at 21.6 million.[129] The population of metropolitan Khartoum (including Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is growing rapidly and was recorded to be 5.2 million.

Despite being a refugee-generating country, Sudan also hosts a refugee population. According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, 310,500 refugees and asylum seekers lived in Sudan in 2007. The majority of this population came from Eritrea (240,400 persons), Chad (45,000), Ethiopia (49,300) and the Central African Republic (2,500).[130] The Sudanese government UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2007 forcibly deported at least 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers during the year. Sudan is a party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.[130]

Ethnic groups

Sudanese Arabs and are by far the largest ethnic group in Sudan, they are entirely Muslims and speak Arabic "archaic Arabic".[131] They descend primarily from Arabs and some of the pre-existing indigenous populations of Sudan, most predominately the Nubian people who also share a common history with Egypt, and other Arabs. The Arab tribes migrated into the Sudan in the 12th century.[132]

In common with much of the rest of the Arab world, the gradual process of Arabization in Sudan led to the predominance of the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture,[133] leading to the shift among a majority of Sudanese today to an Arab ethnic identity. This process was furthered both by the spread of Islam and an emigration to Sudan of genealogical Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula, and their intermarriage with the Arabized indigenous peoples of the country.

Sudan consists of numerous other Arab tribes such as the Shaigya, Ja'alin, Shukria, Rashaida, Bedouins, Arakieen and many more, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt said that the true Ja'alin from the eastern desert of Sudan are exactly like the Bedouin of eastern Arabia.[134]

Non-Arab but often Arabized ethnic groups include the Nubians, Coptic, Beja, Nuba and Fur. There are also communities of settlers from West Africa of the Hausa and Fulani tribes, known collectively in Sudan as the Fallata, that immigrated to Sudan hundreds of years ago and are variously Arabized or non-Arabized depending on the region.


According to the CIA World Factbook, an estimated 97 percent of the population adheres to Islam,[citation needed] while the remainder of the population follows either animist and indigenous beliefs or Christianity.

A Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Khartoum

Islam predominates in Sudan, though a few adherents to Christianity and traditional animist indigenous beliefs are present in Khartoum and in southern regions of the country bordering South Sudan. Almost all Muslims are Sunni, although there are significant distinctions between followers of different Sunni traditions. Two popular divisions, the Ansar and the Khatmia, are associated with the opposition Umma and Democratic Unionist Parties, respectively.

Christians in Sudan belong to various churches including the Roman Catholic Church, small Melkite and Maronite communities in the north, as well as Anglicans followers in the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the recently formed Reformed Episcopal Church. There are significant but long-established groups of Orthodox Christians in Khartoum and other northern cities, including Coptic Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Christians.

There are also Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox communities in Khartoum and eastern Sudan, largely made up of refugees and migrants. Other Christian groups with smaller followings in the country include the Africa Inland Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Sudan Church of Christ, the Sudan Interior Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Sudan Pentecostal Church, the Sudan Evangelical Presbyterian Church (in the North), and the Seventh-day Adventist Church of Sudan. In January 2010, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gained its first official presence in Sudan, opening its first branch in the south of the country.[135][unreliable source?]

Many Christians in the north are descended from pre-Islamic era communities or are trading families that immigrated from Egypt or the Near East before Sudan's independence in 1956.

Religious identity plays a role in the country's political divisions. Northern and western Muslims have dominated the country's political and economic system since independence. The NCP draws much of its support from Islamists, Salafis/Wahhabis and other conservative Arab Muslims in the north. The Umma Party has traditionally attracted Arab followers of the Ansar sect of Sufism as well as non-Arab Muslims from Darfur and Kordofan.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) includes both Arab and non-Arab Muslims in the north and east, especially those in the Khatmia Sufi sect, as well as some northern Arabic-speaking Christians. Southern Christians generally support the SPLM or one of the smaller southern parties.[136]

People of Sudan

  • Ababda
  • Abddallab
  • Arakeien
  • Ashraf
  • Baggara
  • Bataheen
  • Beja
  • Bideiria Dahmshiia
  • Danagla
  • Fulbe
  • Fur
  • Ga'alin
  • Halfaween
  • Hamar
  • Hausa
  • Hasania
  • Horefaen
  • Hawara
  • Jemi'ab
  • Kinouz
  • Kawahla
  • Kazraj Ansar
  • Mabaan
  • Mahas
  • Mahria

People Location
Fula (Fulani) Blue Nile, East and West
Rashaida east
Fur west
Bari south


According to Ethnologue, the total number of languages used or spoken in Sudan is 142.[137] Of those, 133 are currently spoken and 9 languages are extinct.

The most used languages are:

  1. Sudanese Arabic in all Sudan, along with the tribal languages.
  2. Tribal languages in all Sudan with some people speaking English.

Some Western African tribes like the Fallata, also known as Fulani and Hausa, have migrated to Sudan at various times, settling in various regions, mainly in the north, with most speaking Arabic in addition to their native languages.

In the 2005 constitution, Sudan's official languages are Arabic and English:[138]

Article 8:

  1. All indigenous languages of Sudan are national languages and shall be respected, developed and promoted.
  2. Arabic is a widely spoken national language in Sudan.
  3. Arabic, as a major language at the national level and English shall be the official working languages of the national government and the languages of instruction for higher education.
  4. In addition to Arabic and English, the legislature of any sub-national level of government may adopt any other national language as an additional official working language at its level.
  5. There shall be no discrimination against the use of either Arabic or English at any level of government or stage of education.

Besides the two official languages, there are speakers of Nubian, Hausa spoken in certain Sudanese states, Otuho among the Otuho, To Bedawie among the Beja, and others.



Institutions of higher education in Sudan include:

See also




  • "Quo Vadis bilad as-Sudan? The Contemporary Framework for a National Interim Constitution". Law in Africa (Cologne; 2005). Vol. 8, pp.  63–82. ISSN 1435-0963.


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External links

Coordinates: 15°N 32°E / 15°N 032°E / 15; 032

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