Country profile: Sudan
Sudan is the largest and one
of the most diverse countries in Africa, home to deserts, mountain
ranges, swamps and rain forests.
It emerged from a
two-decade civil war between the mainly Muslim north and the Animist
and Christian south, only to see fighting break out in the western
region of Darfur in early 2003.
The north-south civil war is
said to have cost the lives of 1.5 million people. In Darfur, the UN
says more than two million people have fled their homes and more than
200,000 have been killed.
Southern rebels said they were battling oppression and
marginalisation. After two years of bargaining, they signed a
comprehensive peace deal with the government to end the civil war in
Humanitarian crisis: Civil war in Darfur region is seen as "one of the worst nightmares in recent history"
Politics: Omar al-Bashir heads a unity
government formed after a peace deal ended 20 years of southern civil
war. An independence referendum in the south will follow a six-year
period of autonomy
Economy: Oil production and revenues are rising
The accord provides for a high degree of autonomy for the south. The region will also share oil revenue equally with the north.
in Darfur, pro-government Arab militias are accused of carrying out a
campaign of ethnic cleansing against non-Arab groups in the region.
conflict has strained relations between Sudan and Chad, to the west.
Both countries have accused each other of cross-border incursions.
There have been fears that the Darfur conflict could lead to a wider,
Decades of fighting have left Sudan's
infrastructure in tatters. With the return of millions of displaced
southerners, there is a pressing need for reconstruction.
economic dividends of peace could be great. Sudan has large areas of
cultivatable land, as well as gold and cotton. Its oil reserves are
ripe for further exploitation.
Sudan's name comes from the
Arabic "bilad al-sudan", or land of the blacks. Arabic is the official
language and Islam is the religion of the state, but the country has a
large non-Arabic speaking and non-Muslim population which has rejected
attempts by the government in Khartoum to impose Islamic Sharia law on
the country as a whole.
President Omar al-Bashir has been
locked in a power struggle with Hassan al-Turabi, his former mentor and
the main ideologue of Sudan's Islamist government. Since 2001 Mr Turabi
has spent periods in detention and has been accused, but not tried,
over an alleged coup plot.
- Full name: Republic of Sudan
- Population: 42.2 million (UN, 2009)
- Capital: Khartoum
- Area: 2.5 million sq km (966,757 sq miles)
- Major languages: Arabic; Nubian, others
- Major religions: Islam, Christianity
- Life expectancy: 56 years (men), 60 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: Sudanese dinar
- Main exports: Oil, cotton, sesame, livestock and hides, gum arabic
- GNI per capita: US $1,130 (World Bank, 2008)
- Internet domain: .sd
- International dialling code: +249
President: Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
International Criminal Court in The Hague on 4 March 2009 issued an
arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges of war crimes
and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Omar al-Bashir is wanted on war crimes charges
Mr Bashir is the first sitting head of state for which the court has issued a warrant since it started its work in 2002.
He has dismissed the court's allegations and has continued to travel to countries which oppose the indictment.
al-Bashir formed a government of national unity in July 2005 as part of
a deal to end the conflict in southern Sudan, Africa's longest-running
Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in
Nairobi, the south was granted limited autonomy and a referendum on
full independence by 2011.
However, as the civil war between
north and south was coming to an end, another one broke out in the
western region of Darfur. Following rebel attacks, President Bashir's
regime was accused of orchestrating violence by pro-government militias
in which hundreds of thousands are thought to have been killed.
Omar al-Bashir took power in a June 1989 military coup against the elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi.
in 1944 into a farming family, he joined the army as a young man and
rose through the ranks. He fought in the Egyptian army in the 1973 war
with Israel and led the military campaign against southern rebels.
taking power, Mr Bashir dissolved parliament, banned political parties
and set up and chaired the Revolutionary Command Council for National
Salvation, which ruled through a civilian government.
an alliance with Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the National lslamic
Front, who became the regime's ideologue and is thought to be behind
the introduction of Sharia law in the north in 1991. In 1993 Mr Bashir
dissolved the Revolutionary Command for National Salvation,
concentrating power in his own hands.
Mr Bashir was elected
president in 1996, and Hassan al-Turabi became speaker of parliament. A
new constitution was drawn up and some opposition activity was
First vice president Salva Kiir
But in late 1999 Mr Bashir dissolved parliament and declared a
state of emergency after Mr Turabi tried to give parliament the power
to remove the president and to reinstate the post of prime minister.
Hassan al-Turabi was later imprisoned, accused of treason after signing
a deal with separatist rebels in the south.
won re-election in 2000. Supporters of the National Congress Party
filled the parliament. The opposition boycotted the poll, accusing Mr
Bashir of vote-rigging.
First vice president: Salva Kiir
Vice president: Ali Osman Taha
Sudanese broadcasting is highly restricted. State-run radio and TV
reflect government policy. A military censor ensures that the news
reflects official views.
The private press enjoys more freedom than state broadcasters
There are no privately-owned TV stations apart from a cable service jointly owned by the government and private investors.
Satellite dishes are a common sight in affluent areas and pan-Arab stations are popular among viewers.
national radio networks broadcast news, music and cultural programmes.
International broadcasters are also heard, including the BBC which is
relayed on FM in Khartoum and other parts of the north, and in Juba in
the south. Several opposition and clandestine stations broadcast to
The private press enjoys a greater degree of freedom
than the state broadcasters and offers a limited forum for opposition
views, but the state retains and uses powers to influence what is
In the semi-autonomous south, the lack of
infrastructure limits media operations. However, broadcasters and
newspapers, some with foreign funding, are active. Radio is the
most-popular medium. The region's president has said he wants to
"create space for the media to enjoy freedom".
- Al-Ra'y al-Amm (The Public Opinion) - private, mass-circulation daily
- Al-Ayam (The Days) - established daily
- Khartoum Monitor - privately-owned, English-language
- Al-Khartoum - privately-owned
- Alwan - Khartoum daily
- Al-Sahafah (The Press) - daily
- Al-Anba - government-owned
- The Juba Post - private weekly in the south
- Sudan National Radio Corporation - government-run, national and regional networks in Arabic, English and other languages
- Mango 96 FM - private, music-based Khartoum station
- Miraya (Mirror) FM - operated by UN mission, broadcasts from southern capital of Juba
- Radio Juba - government-owned radio in the south
- Liberty FM - in Juba and Yei
Opposition and clandestine radios
- Voice of Sudan - operated by opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), broadcasts on shortwave
- Voice of Freedom and Renewal - operated by armed opposition group Sudan Alliance Forces, via shortwave