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History Of Sudan


This is a brief 25 year history of southern Sudan.

Sudans Second Civil War

In 1983 the civil war was reignited following the government's Islamicization policy which would have instituted Islamic law, among other things. After several years of fighting, the government compromised with southern groups.

On April 6, 1985, a group of military officers, led by Lieutenant General Abd ar Rahman Siwar adh Dhahab, overthrew Nimeiri, who took refuge in Egypt. Three days later, Dhahab authorized the creation of a fifteen-man Transitional Military Council (TMC) to rule Sudan.

In June 1986, Sadiq al Mahdi formed a coalition government with the Umma, the DUP, the NIF, and four southern parties. Unfortunately, however, Sadiq proved to be a weak leader and incapable of governing Sudan. Party factionalism, corruption, personal rivalries, scandals, and political instability characterized the Sadiq regime. After less than a year in office, Sadiq al Mahdi dismissed the government because it had failed to draft a new penal code to replace the sharia, reach an agreement with the IMF, end the civil war in the south, or devise a scheme to attract remittances from Sudanese expatriates. To retain the support of the DUP and the southern political parties, Sadiq formed another ineffective coalition government.

In 1989, it appeared the war would end, but a coup d'état brought a military junta into power which was not interested in compromise. Since that time the war raged across Sudan.

The civil war has displaced more than 4 million southerners. Some fled into southern cities, such as Juba; others trekked as far north as Khartoum and even into Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, and other neighboring countries. These people were unable to grow food or earn money to feed themselves, and malnutrition and starvation became widespread. The lack of investment in the south resulted as well in what international humanitarian organizations call a “lost generation” who lack educational opportunities, access to basic health care services, and little prospects for productive employment in the small and weak economies of the south or the north.

Peace talks between the southern rebels and the government made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004, although skirmishes in parts of the south have reportedly continued. The two sides have agreed that, following a final peace treaty, southern Sudan will enjoy autonomy for six years, and after the expiration of that period, the people of southern Sudan will be able to vote in a referendum on independence. Furthermore, oil revenues will be divided equally between the government and rebels during the six-year interim period. The ability or willingness of the government to fulfill these promises has been questioned by some observers, however, and the status of three central and eastern provinces was a point of contention in the negotiations. Some observers wondered whether hard line elements in the north would allow the treaty to proceed. [Learn More.]

A final peace treaty was signed on 9 January 2005 in Nairobi. The terms of the peace treaty are as follows:

  • The south will have autonomy for six years, followed by the 2011 Southern Sudanese independence referendum on secession.

  • Both sides of the conflict will merge their armed forces into a 39,000-strong force after six years, if the secession referendum should turn out negative.

  • Income from oilfields is to be shared evenly between north and south.

  • Jobs are to be split according to varying ratios (central administration: 70 to 30, Abyei/Blue Nile State/Nuba mountains: 55 to 45, both in favour of the government).

  • Islamic law is to remain in the north, while continued use of the sharia in the south is to be decided by the elected assembly.

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Darfur

In early 2003, a new rebellion in the western region of Darfur began. The rebels accuse the central government of neglecting the Darfur region, 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 (Janjaweed) allied with the government. The rebels have alleged that these militias have been engaging in ethnic cleansing in Darfur, and the fighting has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, many of them seeking refuge in neighboring Chad. The government claimed victory over the rebels after capturing Tine, a town on the border with Chad, in early 2004, but violence continues and as of 2005 the humanitarian situation remains very poor. [Learn More.]

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Chadian-Sudanese Conflict

The Chadian-Sudanese conflict officially started on December 23, 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," which the Chadian government sees as the Rally for Democracy and Liberty (RDL) militants, Chadian rebels, backed by the Sudanese government, and Sudanese militiamen. Militants have attacked villages and towns in eastern Chad, stealing cattle, murdering citizens, and burning houses. Over 200,000 refugees from the Darfur region of northwestern Sudan currently claim asylum in eastern Chad. Chadian president Idriss 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."

An attack on the Chadian town of Adré near the Sudanese border led to the deaths of between one hundred and three hundred rebels based upon conflicting news reports. 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 denies any Sudanese involvement, "We are not for any escalation with Chad. We technically deny involvement in Chadian internal affairs." This attack was the final straw that led to the declaration of war by Chad and the alleged deployment of the Chadian airforce into Sudanese airspace, which the Chadian government denies. [Learn More.]

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