Location of Sudan
Map of Sudan
Flag of Sudan
Sudan (pronounced /suːˈdæn/), officially the Republic of the Sudan, is a country in northeastern Africa. It is the largest country in Africa and the Arab world, and tenth largest in the world by area. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. The world's longest river, the Nile, divides the country between east and west sides.
The people of Sudan have a long history extending from antiquity which is intertwined with the history of Egypt, with which it was united politically over several periods. After gaining independence from Egypt and the United Kingdom in 1956, Sudan suffered 17 years of civil war followed by ethnic, religious and economic conflicts between the Northern Sudanese (with Arab and Nubian roots), and the Christian and animist Nilotes of Southern Sudan. This led to a second civil war in 1983, and due to 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.
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 to be followed by a referendum about independence in 2011. Rich in natural resources such as petroleum and crude oil, Sudan's economy is currently amongst the fastest growing in the world. The People's Republic of China and Japan are the main export partners of Sudan.
However, after an Islamic legal code was introduced on a national level, the ruling National Congress (NCP) established themselves as the sole political party in the state and has since supported the use of recruited Arab militias in guerrilla warfare, such as in the ongoing conflict in Darfur. 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. Officially a federal presidential representative democratic republic, the politics of Sudan are widely considered by the international community to take place within an authoritarian dictatorship due to the influence of the NCP. These factors led to the termination of diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad, obstructed humanitarian assistance to the civilian population and has even led to war crimes charges being issued against members of the Sudanese government. On 4 March 2008, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the first sitting head of state ever indicted by the ICC. And on July 12, 2010, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant for al-Bashir, adding the charge of genocide. Sudan has also been the subject of severe sanctions due to alleged ties with Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda. Sudan has scored medium in human development in the last few years, ranking #150 in 2009, between Haiti and Tanzania. Statistics indicate that about 17% of the population live on less than US $1.25 per day.
A member of the United Nations, Sudan also maintains membership with the AU, LAS, OIC and NAM, as well as serving as an observer in WTO. Its capital is Khartoum, which serves as the political, cultural and commercial centre of the nation, while Omdurman remains the largest city. Among Sudan's population of 42 million people, Sunni Islam is the official and largest religion, while Arabic and English are the official languages.
Archaeological evidence has confirmed that the area in the east of Sudan, Nubia, was inhabited at least 70,000 years ago. A settled culture appeared around 8,000 B.C. They subsisted on hunting, fishing and grain foraging and kept cattle and sheep.
The area was known to the Egyptians as the Kush and had strong cultural and religious ties to Egypt. In the 8th century BC, however, Kush came under the rule of an aggressive line of monarchs, ruling from the capital city, Napata, who gradually extended their influence into Egypt. About 750 BC, a Kushite king called Kashta conquered Upper Egypt and became ruler of Thebes until approximately 740 BC. His successor, Piankhy, subdued the delta, reunited Egypt under the Twenty-fifth Dynasty, and founded a line of kings who ruled Kush and Thebes for about a hundred years. The dynasty's intervention in the area of modern Syria caused a confrontation between Egypt and Assyria. When the Assyrians in retaliation invaded Egypt, Taharqa (688–663 BC), the last Kushite pharaoh, withdrew and returned the dynasty to Napata, where it continued to rule Kush and extended its dominions to the south and east.
In 590 BC, an Egyptian army sacked Napata, compelling the Kushite court to move to Meroe near the Sixth Cataract. The Meroitic kingdom subsequently developed independently of Egypt, and during the height of its power in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC, Meroe extended over a region from the Third Cataract in the north to Sawba, near present-day Khartoum (the modern capital of Sudan).
The pharaonic tradition persisted among Meroe's rulers, who raised stelae to record the achievements of their reigns and erected pyramids to contain their tombs. These objects and the ruins at palaces, temples and baths at Meroe attest to a centralised political system that employed artisans' skills and commanded the labour of a large workforce. A well-managed irrigation system allowed the area to support a higher population density than was possible during later periods. By the 1st century BC, the use of hieroglyphs gave way to a Meroitic script that adapted the Egyptian writing system to an indigenous, Nubian-related language spoken later by the region's people.
In the 6th century AD, the people known as the Nobatae occupied the Nile's west bank in northern Kush. Eventually they intermarried and established themselves among the Meroitic people as a military aristocracy. Until nearly the 5th century, Rome subsidised the Nobatae and used Meroe as a buffer between Egypt and the Blemmyes. About AD 350, an Axumite army from Abyssinia captured and destroyed Meroe city, ending the kingdom's independent existence.
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 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 AD 540. 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 (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. 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, Sinnar 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. The pasha's forces accepted Sinnar's surrender from the last Funj sultan, Badi VII.
Modern Egyptian Occupation (1821–1885)
Main articles: History of Sudan under Muhammad Ali and his successors and Mahdist War
In 1820, the Albanian-Ottoman ruler of Egypt Muhammad Ali Pasha invaded and conquered northern Sudan. Though 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 became notorious. During the 1870s, European initiatives against the slave trade caused an economic crisis in northern Sudan, precipitating the rise of Mahdist forces.
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. His revolt culminated in the winter of Khartoum and the death of the British governor General Gordon (Gordon of Khartoum) in 1885. Egypt and Britain subsequently withdrew forces from Sudan leaving the Mahdi to form a short-lived theocracy.
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.
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 British imperial territory. By the early 1890s, British, French and Belgian claims had converged at the Nile headwaters. Britain feared that the other imperial 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 from 1896 to 1898. Kitchener's campaigns culminated in the Battle of Omdurman. Following defeat of the Mahdists at Omdurman, an agreement was reached in 1899 establishing Anglo-Egyptian rule, 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 Civil Wars (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 Fuad I who succeeded him. The insistence of a single Egyptian-Sudanese state persisted when the Sultanate was retitled the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan, but the British continued to frustrate these efforts. 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 sovereignty over Sudan. The British on the other hand continued their political and financial support for the Mahdi successor Sayyid Abdel Rahman whom they believed could resist the Egyptian presence in Sudan. However they realised his political inability and diminishing support in northern and central Sudan, both Britain and Egypt with no option but to allow the Sudanese in the north and south together self determination and a free vote on independence. In 1954 the governments of Egypt and Britain signed a treaty guaranteeing Sudanese independence on 1 January 1956, in a special ceremony held at the People's Palace where the Egyptian and British flags were lowered and the new Sudanese flag, composed of green, blue and white stripes, was raised in their place. Afterwards, Ismail Al-Azhari was elected first Prime Minister and led the first modern Sudanese government.
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 and Muslim while the south was predominantly a mixture of Christianity and Animism. 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. 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.
In 1983, the civil war was reignited following President Gaafar Nimeiry's decision to circumvent the Addis Ababa Agreement. President Gaafar 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”. Mansour Khalid a former foreign minister wrote, “Nimeiri had never been genuinely committed to the principles of the Addis Ababa Agreement". 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”. Southern troops rebelled against the northern political offensive, and launched attacks in June 1983. In September 1983, the situation was exacerbated when President Gaafar Nimeiry's 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. This ceasefire, which lasted almost six months, has since been called the "Guinea Worm Ceasefire." Since 1983, a combination of civil war and famine has taken the lives of nearly 2 million people in Sudan.
Dr John Garang de Mabior, former leader of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army
The war continued even after Nimeiry was ousted and a democratic government was elected with Al Sadig 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.
Recent History (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. Under al-Bashir's leadership, the new military government suspended political parties and introduced an Islamic legal code on the national level. 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. 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.
The Sudanese Army advanced successfully 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. Rebel leader Riek Mashar 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 Riek Mashar, 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 Christian south.
The war went on for more than 20 years, including the use of Russian-made combat helicopters and military cargo planes which 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 racial, 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." 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.
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. In the 1996 national election, where he was the only candidate by law to run for election, al-Bashir transformed Sudan into an Islamic totalitarian single-party state and created the National Congress Party (NCP) with a new parliament and government obtained solely by members of the NCP. 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. The United States subsequently listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism and U.S. firms were barred from doing business in Sudan. 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." 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. 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 he urged a boycott of the President's re-election campaign and signed an agreement with Sudan People's Liberation Army, Omar al-Bashir suspected that they were plotting to overthrow him and the government, thus jailing Hassan al-Turabi that same year.
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 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 the peace was eventually able to continue. 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. 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), 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, which has resulted in death tolls between 200,000 and 400,000, over 2.5 million people being displaced and the diplomatic relations between Sudan and Chad being at a crisis level.
Just as the long north-south civil war was reaching a resolution, some clashes occurred in the western region of Darfur in the early 1970s between the pastoral tribes. The rebels accused the central government of neglecting the Darfur region economically, although there is uncertainty regarding the objectives of the rebels and whether they merely seek an improved position for Darfur within Sudan or outright secession. Both the government and the rebels have been accused of atrocities in this war, although most of the blame has fallen on Arab 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 United States Government, these militias have been engaging in genocide; 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, the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell termed the Darfur conflict a genocide, claiming it as the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. 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 to 400,000 killed. 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 humanitarial law since the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
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. 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. The agreement, which was brokered by the African Union, however, was not signed by all of the rebel groups. Only one rebel group, the SLA, led by Minni Arko Minnawi, signed the DPA. [Did SLA or SLM sign the DPA?]
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. Recently, both the Sudanese government and government-sponsored Muslim 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. Recent 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. In addition, villages have been bombed and more civilians have been killed. UNICEF recently reported that around 80 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 Black Africans of Muslim belief. While the Janjawid militia is made up of Arabized Black African (Black Arabs); the majority of Arab groups in Darfur remain uninvolved in the conflict. Darfurians—Arab and non-Arab alike—profoundly distrust a government in Khartoum that has brought them nothing but trouble.
The International Criminal Court 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 President Bashir, accusing him of sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity. 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 ICC's prosecutor for Darfur, Luis Moreno Ocampo, is expected within months to ask a panel of ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for Bashir[dubious – discuss].
The Arab League, African Union, and even France support Sudan’s efforts to suspend the ICC investigation. They are willing to consider Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which states ICC investigations can be suspended for one year if the investigation endangers the peace process.
The Chad-Sudan conflict 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"—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, 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.
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.
The Eastern Front is a coalition of rebel groups operating in eastern Sudan along the border with Eritrea, particularly the states of Red Sea and Kassala. The Eastern Front's Chairman is Musa Mohamed Ahmed. 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 Beja and Rashaida people, respectively. The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), a rebel group from Darfur in the west, then joined.
Both the Free Lions and the Beja Congress stated that government inequity in the distribution of oil profits 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.
The Eastern Front had threatened to block the flow of crude oil, which travels from the oil fields of the south-central regions to outside markets through Port Sudan. A government plan to build a second oil refinery near Port Sudan was also threatened. The government was reported to have three times as many soldiers in the east to suppress the rebellion and protect vital infrastructure as in the more widely reported Darfur region.
The Eritrean government in mid-2006 dramatically changed their position on the conflict. From being the main supporter of the Eastern Front they decided that bringing the Sudanese government around the negotiating table for a possible agreement with the rebels would be in their best interests.
They were successful in their attempts and on the 19 June 2006, the two sides signed an agreement on declaration of principles. 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.
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. Over 400,000 people were directly affected, with over 3.5 million at risk of epidemics. The United Nations have 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. The humanitarian crisis is in danger of worsening. Following attacks in Darfur, the U.N. World Food Program announced it could stop food aid to some parts of Darfur. 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. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Scott Gration as his envoy to Sudan.
Autonomy, Separation and Conflicts
Southern Sudan is an autonomous region intermediate between the states and the national government. Southern Sudan is scheduled to have a referendum on independence in 2011. As agreed in the peace agreement a new currency, the Sudan Pound was launched throughout the country on 10 January 2007, and will replace the Sudanese Dinar. But this agreement has come under dispute owing to poor communication. The Southern Sudanese government tried to launch a new currency, but stopped after the central Sudanese government declared that such a move constituted a breach of the peace agreement.
Darfur, a region of three western states, is plagued by a violent conflict between the Sudanese government and a group of rebelling peoples of the region. (see Darfur conflict, Transitional Darfur Regional Authority).
There was also an insurgency in the east led by the Eastern Front. On 14 October 2006, both the Sudanese government and the Eastern Front signed a power-sharing agreement ending the insurgency.
Government and Politics
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 Sudanese Armed Forces in a multi-party system. Legislative power is vested in both the government and in the two chambers, the National Assembly (lower) and the Council of States (upper), of the bicameral National Legislature. The judiciary is independent and obtained by the Constitutional Court.
However, following a deadly civil war 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 Omar 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.
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. 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.
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 civil war with the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) would only escalate in the following years.
Following the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government of Omar al-Bashir and the SPLA, a Government of National Unity was installed in Sudan in accordance with the Interim Constitution whereby a co-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, but also left both the north's and south's armies in place. Following the Darfur Peace Agreement, the office of senior Presidential advisor was allocated to Minni Minnawi, a Zaghawa of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), and this thus became the fourth highest constitutional post.
Executive posts are divided between the National Congress Party (NCP), the Sudan People's Liberation Army, Eastern Front and factions of the Umma Party and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). This peace agreement with the rebel group Sudan People's Liberation Army (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.
Despite his international arrest warrant, Omar al-Bashir was a candidate in the 2010 Sudanese presidential election, the first democratic election with multiple political parties participating in 24 years. In the build-up to the vote Sudanese pro-democracy activists say they faced intimidation by the government  and the International Crisis Group reported that the ruling party had gerrymandered electoral districts. A few days before the vote the main opposition candidate, Yasir Arman from the SPLM, withdrew from the race. 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." Al-Bashir was declared the winner of the election with 68% of the vote. There is considerable concern amongst the international community of a return to violence in the run-up to the southern Sudan referendum in January, with post-referendum issues such as oil revenue sharing and border demarcation not yet resolved.
Sudan has had a troubled relationship with many of its neighbours and much of the international community owing to what is viewed as its aggressively 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-Uganda rebel groups such as the Lord's Resistance Army.
Beginning from the mid-1990s Sudan gradually began to moderate its positions as a result of increased US pressure following the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings 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 Darfur conflict.
The United States has listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993. U.S. firms have been barred from doing business in Sudan since 1997. In 1998, the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum was destroyed by a US cruise missile strike because of its alleged production of chemical weapons and links to al-Qaeda. Sudan has extensive economic relations with China. China gets 10% of its oil from Sudan, and according to a former Sudanese government minister, China is Sudan’s largest supplier of arms.
On 23 December 2005, Chad, Sudan's neighbour to the west, 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 100 people dead. A statement issued by Chadian government on 23 December, accused Sudanese militias of making daily incursions into Chad, 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.
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have called on Sudan and Chad to exercise self-restraint to defuse growing tensions between the two countries. 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. On 27 December 2005, Sudan became one of the few states to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.
On 20 June 2006 President Omar al-Bashir told reporters that he would not allow any UN peacekeeping force into Sudan. President al-Bashir denounced any such mission as "colonial forces." 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.
Despite this claim, no additional troops have been deployed as of late December 2006. On 31 July 2007 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1769, authorizing the deployment of UN forces. Violence continues 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 Sudan government. 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.
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 Popular Defence Force, totalling about 200,000 troops. The military of Sudan has become very 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 Arab militias, the most prominent being the Janjaweed, in executing a counter-insurgency war. Something between 200,000 and 400,000 have died in the violent struggles.
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 20 January 1991, by the now-defunct Revolutionary Command Council; this applies to all residents of the northern states 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 does not apply in the south; the legal system there is still developing.
The judicial branch of the northern 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.
The United States government's Sudan Peace Act of 21 October 2002 accused Sudan of genocide in the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005) which has cost more than 2 million lives and has displaced more than 4 million people. It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people had been taken into slavery during the Second Sudanese Civil War. The slaves are mostly Dinka people.
Slavery in Sudan has been documented since ancient Egypt being taken over by the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent institutionalizing of Sharia law in the north, and with the French and British empires colonising Southern Sudan, the Arabs began abducting large groups of black Africans in the south in form of Arab slave trade for centuries. However, the amount of war prisoners being forced into slavery increased significantly during and after the Second Sudanese Civil War, as Omar al-Bashir seized power in 1989 and created a totalitarian federal government supporting Arab militias terrorizing the southern regions, such as raiding non-Afro Arab villages and looting them both for property and for slaves. Since 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 Darfur conflict, while the 2002 report issued by the International Eminent Persons Group, acting with the encouragement of the United States State Department, found the SPLA and pro-government militias guilty of abduction of civilians as well.
While the government of the Republic of Sudan denies the allegations of slavery in the country, claiming that these reports are attempts to shed a bad light on Muslims and Arabs, and that slave redemption programmes are fraudulent attempts to make money, the Rift Valley Institute's Sudan Abductee Database claim over 11,000 people were abducted in 20 years of slave-raiding in the southern regions, while SudanActivism.com mentions that hundreds of thousands have been abducted into slavery, fled, or are otherwise unaccounted for in a second genocide in southern Sudan.
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. Some reports attribute part of the violations to the rebels as well as the government and the Janjaweed. The US State Department's human rights report issued in March 2007 claims that "All 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."
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 American government of attacking humanitarian workers and of killing innocent civilians.
States, Districts and Counties
Sudan is divided into twenty-five states (wilayat, sing. wilayah) which in turn are subdivided into 87 districts; the ten states in Southern Sudan are subdivided into 84 counties. The states are:
North Bahr al Ghazal
Red Sea (al-Bahr al-Ahmar)
West Bahr al Ghazal
Sudan is situated in northern Africa, with a 853 km (530 mi) coastline bordering the Red Sea. With an area of 2,505,810 km2 (967,499 sq mi), it is the largest country on the continent and the tenth largest in the world. The terrain is generally flat plains, broken by several mountain ranges; in the west the Jebel Marra is the highest range; in the south is the highest mountain Mount Kinyeti Imatong (3,187 m/10,456 ft), near the border with Uganda; in the east are the Red Sea Hills.
The Blue and White Niles meet in Khartoum to form the River Nile, which flows northwards through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. Blue Nile's course through Sudan is nearly 800 km (497 mi) long and is joined by the rivers Dinder and Rahad 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.
There are several dams on the Blue and White Niles. Among them are the Sennar and Roseires on the Blue Nile, and 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: petroleum, natural gas, gold, silver, chromite, asbestos, manganese, gypsum, mica, zinc, iron, lead, uranium, copper, kaolin, cobalt, granite, nickel and tin.
Desertification is a serious problem in Sudan. 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.
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.
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.
Despite being the 17th fastest growing economy in the world with new economic policies and infrastructure investments, Sudan still faces formidable economic problems, as it must rise from a very low level of per capita output. Since 1997, Sudan has been implementing the macroeconomic reforms recommended by the IMF.
In 1999, Sudan began exporting crude oil and in the last quarter of 1999, recorded its first trade surplus. Increased oil production (the current production is about 520,000 barrels per day (83,000 m3/d)) revived light industry, and expanded export processing zones helped sustain GDP growth at 6.1% in 2003. These gains, along with improvements to monetary policy, have stabilized the exchange rate.
Currently oil is Sudan's main export, and the production is increasing dramatically. With rising oil revenues the Sudanese economy is booming, with a growth rate of about 9% in 2007. Sustained growth was expected the next year[when?] 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.
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, aluminum.
Agriculture production remains Sudan's most important sector, employing 80% of the workforce and contributing 39% 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 km 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 km downstream from the construction site at Hamdab.
The main purpose of the dam will be the generation of electricity. Its dimensions make it the largest contemporary hydro power project in Africa. The construction of the dam was to be finished by mid-2008, supplying more than 90% of the population with electricity. Other gas-powered generating stations are under construction in Khartoum state; these were also due to be completed by 2008.
Despite the American sanctions, the Sudanese economy is one of the fastest growing in the world according to a New York Times report of October 2006.
Sudan population density (person per Km2).
In Sudan's 1993 census, the population was recorded to be 25 million. No comprehensive census has been carried out since then owing to the continuation of the civil war. The 2009 census put the population at more than 39 million people. The population of metropolitan Khartoum (including Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is growing rapidly and is estimated at about 5 to 7 million, including around 2 million displaced persons from the southern war zone as well as western and eastern drought-affected areas.
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 (19,300) and the Central African Republic (2,500). The Sudanese government was reportedly uncooperative with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2007, and the government 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.
Sudan has 597 tribes that speak over 400 different languages and dialects  split into two major Ethnic groups: Arabs of the largely Muslim Northern Sudan versus the largely Christian and animist Nilote Southern Sudan of the south. These two groups consist of hundreds of smaller ethnic and tribal divisions, and in the latter case, language groups.
As with Moroccans, Algerians and most other non-Arabian Peninsula Arabs, most Sudanese Arabs are "Arabs" in linguistic and cultural association. They descended primarily from the pre-existing indigenous populations; that is, the ancient Nubians. The Nubians share a common history with Egypt. In common with much of the rest of the Arab World, the gradual process of Arabisation in northern Sudan led to the predominance of the Arabic language and aspects of Arab culture, leading to the shift among a majority of northern 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.
The northern states cover most of Sudan and include most of the urban centres. Most of the 22 million Sudanese who live in this region are Arabic-speaking Muslims, as education is in Arabic language, though the majority also use a traditional non-Arabic mother tongue (e.g. Nubian, Beja, Fur, Nuban, Ingessana, etc.). Among these are several distinct tribal groups: the camel-raising Kababish of northern Kordofan; the Dongolawiyin (الدنقلاويين); the Ga’aliyin (الجعلين); the Rubatab (الرباطاب); the Manasir (المناصير); the Shaiqiyah (الشايقيّة); the Bideiria ; the semi-nomadic Baggara of Kurdufan and Darfur; the Beja and Hausa people in the Red Sea area and who extend into Eritrea; and the Nubians of the northern Nile areas, some of whom have been resettled on the Atbara River.
Shokrya in the Butana land, Bataheen bordering the Ga’alin and Shokrya in the southwest of Butana. Rufaa, Halaween, Fulani (فولاني) and many other tribes have settled in the Gazeera region and on the banks of the Blue Nile, Damazine and the Dindir region. The Nuba of southern Kurdufan and Fur in the western reaches of the country.
The southern region has a population of around six million and a predominantly rural, subsistence economy. This region has been affected by war for all but 10 years since the country's independence in 1956, resulting in serious neglect, lack of infrastructure development, and major destruction and displacement. More than two million people have died, and more than four million are internally displaced or have become refugees as a result of the civil war and war-related impacts.
Here a majority of the population practices traditional indigenous beliefs, although some practice Christianity, a result of Christian missionary efforts. The south also contains many tribal groups and many more languages are used than in the north. The Dinka, whose population is estimated at more than one million, are the largest of the many ethnic groups of Sudan. Along with the Shilluk, also the Nuer, the Otuho and the Bari who consist of five other tribes, Pojulu, Mundari, Kuku, Kakaw and Ngangwara are Nilotic tribes.
The Azande, Bor, and Jo Luo are “Sudanic” tribes in the west, and the [Otuho]and Acholilive in the extreme south, extending into Uganda. Unlike northern Sudan, Arabisation and Islamisation have been limited in the south as the region's permanent merger with the north is relatively recent, dating back to the union with Egypt in the 19th century. Besides, the north and the south were administered as separate districts in the period 1924-1956 as mentioned earlier. As a result, Arab self-identification amongst people in the south is almost exclusively limited to those of northern Sudanese origin, with the vast majority of southern Sudanese rejecting Arab identity.
According to the CIA Factbook, an estimated 70% of the population adheres to Islam, while the remainder of the population follows either animist and indigenous beliefs (25%) or Christianity (5%).
Islam predominates in the north, while traditional indigenous beliefs (animism) and Christianity are prevalent in the south. 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. There is a small Shi'a community.
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. The Presbyterians are mainly in the Nuer and Chollo tribes. 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.[unreliable source?]
Foreign missionary groups operate in both North and South, although Christian missionary activity is limited in the North owing to Shari'a, strong social pressure against proselytizing, and existing laws against apostasy.
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 independence (1956). Many Muslims in the south are shopkeepers or small business owners who sought economic opportunities during the civil war. Political tensions have created not only a sense of ethnic and religious marginalisation among the minority religious group in each region but also a feeling among the majority that the minority groups control a disproportionate share of the wealth.
Religious identity plays a role in the country's political divisions. Northern 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.
According to the first authoritative Ethnologue, the total number of languages used or spoken in Sudan is 142. Possibly less. Of those, 133 are currently spoken and lived languages and 9 languages are extinct.
The most used languages are:
Arabic in the north, east, west and middle regions, along with the tribal languages ( if they have another language apart from Arabic).
Tribal languages in all Sudan with some educated people speaking English.
The lingua franca in Southern Sudan is a variant of Arabic called Juba Arabic; the English language is used by the educated elite.
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:
Besides the two official languages, there are speakers of Nubian, Hausa spoken in respective Sudanese States, Otuho is among Otuho, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic and Paranilotic, Dinka language is spoken by the Dinkas and Nuer is also by the Nuer.
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