Sudan (SD)

Capital

Khartoum

Population

39.5 million

Constitution

Coup in progress. There had been joint civilian-military rule since a previous coup in 2019

Head of state

President Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

National Day

January 1st

Republic of Sudan's Ambassador to the UK

H.E. Mr Mohammed Abdalla Ali Eltom

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan, 3 Cleveland Row, London, SW1A 1DD

UK's Ambassador to Republic of Sudan

H.E. Mr Irfan Siddiq

British Embassy Khartoum, off Sharia Al Baladiya, Khartoum, PO Box No 801, Sudan

Following decades of bloody civil war, the country of Sudan split into two separate countries in July 2011. The northern predominantly Muslim two thirds of the country became the Republic of Sudan while the predominantly Christian south became the Republic of South Sudan.

The Republic of Sudan (North)

Civil war between the north and the south began a year before Sudan gained independence in 1956 and it raged on and off for the next half century. The two halves of the country finally went their separate ways in 2011. Post-independence Sudan has been an extremely turbulent, with wars, military coups and revolutions. 

In reality the two Sudans began to diverge long before independence in 1956 under British colonial policy towards the country, concentrating development in the Arab north while ignoring the Black African south which lacked basic infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals.

After independence, the Khartoum government in the north was often accused of the same neglect, and this helped foster the resentment that led to Africa's longest-even war of the 20th century. Fifty years of on-off conflict is thought to have cost the lives of approximately two million people.

The north and crimes against Darfur

Conflict and alleged genocide in the western region of Darfur has kept the Republic of Sudan in the news headlines for all the wrong reasons over the last decade or so. In early 2003, two rebel movements accused the Sudanese government of oppressing Non-Arab Darfurian people and began an insurgency. The government fought back by carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Darfur’s non-Arab peoples.

In March 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity; a year later the ICC issued a second arrest warrant on charges of genocide for massacres committed by the pro-government Janjaweed militia. An estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Darfurians are said to have been murdered. However, in 2014, the ICC halted investigations into Darfur war crimes for lack of support from the UN Security Council.

The 2018 Revolution and the fall of al-Bashir

In December 2018, mass protests began, principally over the government's decision to triple the price of food when inflation was already running at 70 per cent. President al-Bashir refused to end to his 30 years reign and this inevitably led to a powerful coalition of divergent groups in opposition. 

In April 2019, the country's military chiefs of staff ordered the arrest of al-Bashir and declared a state of emergency. A new government led by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok followed the signing of a power-sharing agreement between military and civilian authorities.

Supporters of al-Bashir were said to be behind a failed coup attempt in September 2021.

The Republic of South Sudan 

South Sudan gained independence on July 9th, 2011, as the result of a 2005 agreement that ended Africa’s long-running war, between the Muslim north and largely Christian south. That intermittent conflict lasted half a century and left up to 2 million people dead.

South Sudan is constituted of ten of the southern most states of Sudan and its capital is Juba. Its hard-won independence did not bring an end to conflict.

Civil war in the south

In 2013, just two years after South Sunday won its independence, civil war broke following a bitter dispute between the president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, and his vice-president, Riek Machar. The brutal 5-year conflict left 400,000 people dead and fuelled Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. In 2018, the war parties reached an uneasy peace by signing a power-sharing agreement. The conflict and ensuing famine have left 8 million people, around two thirds of the entire population of South Sudan, in need of humanitarian aid.

Key dates

1821
Ottoman Empire conquers northern Sudan territory
1899
Sudan is brought under joint British-Egyptian rule
1955 - 1972
IST SUDANESE CIVIL WAR: Half a million people die in 17 years if conflict between predominantly northern Sudan and predominantly Christian Sudan, which demanded more regional autonomy. An uneasy peace was reached in 1972
1956
Sudan becomes Independent. Northern Sudan, making up two thirds of Sudan, is predominantly Muslim while the south is predominantly Christian
1962
After brief respite, civil war begins in the predominantly Christian south led by the Anya Nya movement
May. 1969
Army colonel Jaafar Numeiri stages successful military coup and becomes president
1983
President Numeiri declares introduction of Islamic Shariah Law
1983 - 2005
2ND SUDANESE CIVIL WAR: Civil war breaks out with insurgency led by the Sudan People's Liberation Army of South Sudan
1985
COUP 1: Military coup deposes Numeiri following public protests
1989
COUP 2: Another military coup. The National Salvation Front takes power
1993
General Omar al-Bashir becomes president
2002
Beginning of Darfur crisis. Kenya-brokered Machakos Protocol Talks lead to breakthrough agreement with southern rebels on ending civil war
2004
Sudanese army moves into western Darfur region to quell rebels. Pro-government Arab Janjaweed militias carry out systematic massacres of non Arab villagers in Darfur
2009
International Criminal Court in The Hague issues arrest warrant for President Omar Basher for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur
2011
South Sudan becomes independent country with capital in Juba
2013 - 2018
Brutal civil war in Republic of South Sudan; it ends with peace sharing agreement between warring factions
2019
COUP 3: President Bashir is toppled in military coup
Sept' 2019
A new government takes office under Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok as part of a power sharing deal between the military and civilian authorities
Sept' 2021
ATTEMPTED COUP: A military coup organised by allegedly organised by supporters of ousted former president Bashir ends in failure and the arrest of the plotters
Oct' 2021
COUP 4: Sudanese general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan leads military coup in Khartoum, dissolves government arrests acting PM Abdalla Hamdok, amid mass public protest