Currently viewing country profile for Sudan
Sudan is the largest and one of the most geographically diverse countries in Africa. Mountain ranges divide the deserts of the north from the swamps and rain forests of the south, and the River Nile splits the country from east to west.
However, the country is due to split in July 2011. The people in the south voted in a January 2011 referendum to separate and form the continent's newest state.
The country has been beset by conflict. Two rounds of north-south civil war cost the lives of 1.5 million people, and a continuing conflict in the western region of Darfur has driven two million people from their homes and killed more than 200,000.
Sudan's centuries of association with Egypt formally ended in 1956, when joint British-Egyptian rule over the country ended.
Independence was rapidly overshadowed by unresolved constitutional tensions with the south, which flared up into full-scale civil war that the coup-prone central government was ill-equipped to suppress.
The military-led government of President Jaafar Numeiri agreed to autonomy for the south in 1972, but fighting broke out again in 1983.
After two years of bargaining, the rebels signed a comprehensive peace deal with the government to end the civil war in January 2005.
The accord provided for a high degree of autonomy for the south, and an option for it to secede.
In Darfur, in western Sudan, the United Nations has accused pro-government Arab militias of a campaign of ethnic cleansing against non-Arab locals.
The 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 regional war.
Decades of fighting have left South Sudan's infrastructure in tatters. With the return of millions of displaced southerners, there is a pressing need for reconstruction.
The 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.
Arabic is the official language and Islam is the state religion, but the large non-Arab, non-Muslim minority has rejected attempts by the government in Khartoum to impose Islamic Sharia law on the country as a whole.
President Omar 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: 43.2 million (UN, 2010)
- Capital: Khartoum
- Area: 2.5 million sq km (966,757 sq miles)
- Major languages: Arabic, English (official), others
- Major religions: Islam, Christianity, Animism
- Life expectancy: 58 years (men), 61 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: Sudanese pound
- Main exports: Oil, cotton, sesame, livestock and hides, gum arabic
- GNI per capita: US $1,220 (World Bank, 2009)
- Internet domain: .sd
- International dialling code: +249
President: Omar Bashir
Omar Hassan al-Bashir came to power in a military coup in 1989 and has ruled with an iron fist ever since.
He heads a government of national unity that includes leaders of southern Sudan, which has limited autonomy and which opted for full independence in a referendum in January 2011.
The formation of the unity government in 2005 and the referendum were part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end the conflict in southern Sudan, Africa's longest-running civil war.
Mr Bashir faces two international arrest warrants - issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague - on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The charges relate to the conflict in the western Darfur, where thousands of people died of violence, disease and displacement during the fighting between government and rebel forces.
He has dismissed the allegations and has continued to travel to countries which oppose the indictment.
When he took power in the 1989 military coup against the elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi he dissolved parliament, banned political parties and set up and chaired the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation, which ruled through a civilian government.
He formed 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 Islamic 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. A new constitution was drawn up and some opposition activity was permitted.
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.
President Bashir 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.
In April 2010 he won Sudan's first multi-party elections in 24 years. International observers criticised the election as falling short of international standards. Many opposition parties withdrew from the race, alleging widespread vote rigging and intimidation.
First vice-president: Salva Kiir
Salva Kiir Mayardit succeeded former rebel leader John Garang as first vice-president on the death of the latter in a helicopter crash in 2005.
He had been appointed vice-president of southern Sudan under the 2005 peace agreement as Mr Garang's deputy in the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM).
A rebel since the late 1960s, Mr Kiir joined the Sudanese army after the 1972 peace agreement. He defected to the rebels on the resumption of fighting in 1983 and emerged as the military leader of the SPLM.
Like Mr Garang he is a Dinka, the largest ethnic group in the south. Unlike Mr Garang, Salva Kiir has consistently favoured full southern independence. He remains very popular in the south, in particular among SPLM military veterans.
He was re-elected in multiparty polls which were held in the south in April 2010, at the same times as the elections in the north in which President Bashir was re-elected.
He is favourite to become the first president of an independent south.
Vice-president: Ali Osman Taha
A former first vice-president and foreign minister, Ali Osman Taha was the chief government negotiator in the deal that ended the north-south civil war in 2005.
He stepped down to allow John Garang, and then Salva Kiir, to take up the first vice-presidency, and has served as second vice-president ever since.
A member of President Omar Bashir's National Congress Party, he is seen as a loyalist who has undertaken extensive diplomatic missions to depend the government's actions in Darfur and to lobby against the international arrest warrant against the president.
Sudanese broadcasting is highly restricted. State-run radio and TV reflect government policy. A military censor ensures that the news reflects official views.
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.
State-run national radio networks broadcast news, music and cultural programmes. International broadcasters are also heard, including the BBC which is relayed in Khartoum (91 FM) and other parts of the north, and in Juba in the south (88.2/90 FM). Several opposition and clandestine stations broadcast to Sudan.
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 published.
Pre-publication censorship of newspapers by the intelligence services was lifted in 2009. The move was linked to the signing of an "ethical code" by editors. But after President Bashir was re-elected in April 2010, opposition and privately-owned papers said screening had made a comeback.
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.
Sudan had 4.2 million internet users by September 2009, comprising around 10% of the population (Internetworldstats).
According to web filtering monitoring body OpenNet Initiative (ONI), "Sudan openly acknowledges filtering content that transgresses public morality and ethics or threatens order." Blogging is "subject to scrutiny and can incur serious consequences".
- 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 Broadcasting Corporation (SNBC) - government-run, operates two channels, also available via satellite
- Southern Sudan TV - government-owned TV in Juba
- 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
A chronology of key events:
1881 - Revolt against the Turco-Egyptian administration.
1899-1955 Sudan is under joint British-Egyptian rule.
1956 - Sudan becomes independent.
1958 - General Abboud leads military coup against the civilian government elected earlier in the year
1962 - Civil war begins in the south, led by the Anya Nya movement.
1964 - The "October Revolution" overthrows Abbud and an Islamist-led government is established
1969 - Jaafar Numeiri leads the "May Revolution" military coup.
1971 - Sudanese Communist Party leaders executed after short-lived coup against Numeiry.
1972 - Under the Addis Ababa peace agreement between the government and the Anya Nya, the south becomes a self-governing region.
1978 - Oil discovered in Bentiu in southern Sudan.
1983 - Civil war breaks out again in the south involving government forces and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), led by John Garang.
Islamic law imposed
1983 - President Numeiri declares the introduction of Sharia Islamic law.
1985 - After widespread popular unrest Numayri is deposed by a group of officers and a Transitional Military Council is set up to rule the country.
1986 - Coalition government formed after general elections, with Sadiq al-Mahdi as prime minister.
1988 - Coalition partner the Democratic Unionist Party drafts cease-fire agreement with the SPLM, but it is not implemented.
1989 - National Salvation Revolution takes over in military coup.
1993 - Revolution Command Council dissolved after Omar Bashir is appointed president.
1995 - Egyptian President Mubarak accuses Sudan of being involved in attempt to assassinate him in Addis Ababa.
1998 - US launches missile attack on a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, alleging that it was making materials for chemical weapons.
1998 - New constitution endorsed by over 96% of voters in referendum.
1999 - President Bashir dissolves the National Assembly and declares a state of emergency following a power struggle with parliamentary speaker, Hassan al-Turabi.
Advent of oil
1999 - Sudan begins to export oil.
2000 President Bashir meets leaders of opposition National Democratic Alliance for first time in Eritrea.
Main opposition parties boycott presidential elections. Incumbent Bashir is re-elected for further five years.
2001 Islamist leader Al-Turabi's party, the Popular National Congress, signs memorandum of understanding with the southern rebel SPLM's armed wing, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). Al-Turabi is arrested the next day, with more arrests of PNC members in the following months.
Government accepts Libyan/Egyptian initiative to end the civil war after failure of peace talks between President Bashir and SPLM leader John Garang in Nairobi.
US extends unilateral sanctions against Sudan for another year, citing its record on terrorism and rights violations.
2002 - Government and SPLA sign landmark ceasefire agreement providing for six-month renewable ceasefire in central Nuba Mountains - a key rebel stronghold.
Talks in Kenya lead to a breakthrough agreement between the government and southern rebels on ending the 19-year civil war. The Machakos Protocol provides for the south to seek self-determination after six years.
2003 February - Rebels in western region of Darfur rise up against government, claiming the region is being neglected by Khartoum.
2003 October - PNC leader Turabi released after nearly three years in detention and ban on his party is lifted.
Uprising in west
2004 January - Army moves to quell rebel uprising in western region of Darfur; hundreds of thousands of refugees flee to neighbouring Chad.
2004 March - UN official says pro-government Arab Janjaweed militias are carrying out systematic killings of non-Arab villagers in Darfur.
Army officers and opposition politicians, including Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, are detained over an alleged coup plot.
2004 May - Government and southern rebels agree on power-sharing protocols as part of a peace deal to end their long-running conflict. The deal follows earlier breakthroughs on the division of oil and non-oil wealth.
2004 September - UN says Sudan has not met targets for disarming pro-government Darfur militias and must accept outside help to protect civilians. US Secretary of State Colin Powell describes Darfur killings as genocide.
2005 January - Government and southern rebels sign a peace deal. The agreement includes a permanent ceasefire and accords on wealth and power sharing.
UN report accuses the government and militias of systematic abuses in Darfur, but stops short of calling the violence genocide.
2005 March - UN Security Council authorises sanctions against those who violate ceasefire in Darfur. Council also votes to refer those accused of war crimes in Darfur to International Criminal Court.
2005 June - Government and exiled opposition grouping - National Democratic Alliance (NDA) - sign reconciliation deal allowing NDA into power-sharing administration.
President Bashir frees Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, detained since March 2004 over alleged coup plot.
2005 9 July - Former southern rebel leader John Garang is sworn in as first vice president. A constitution which gives a large degree of autonomy to the south is signed.
2005 1 August - Vice president and former rebel leader John Garang is killed in a plane crash. He is succeeded by Salva Kiir. Garang's death sparks deadly clashes in the capital between southern Sudanese and northern Arabs.
2005 September - Power-sharing government is formed in Khartoum.
2005 October - Autonomous government is formed in the south, in line with January 2005 peace deal. The administration is dominated by former rebels.
2006 May - Khartoum government and the main rebel faction in Darfur, the Sudan Liberation Movement, sign a peace accord. Two smaller rebel groups reject the deal. Fighting continues.
2006 August - Sudan rejects a UN resolution calling for a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, saying it would compromise sovereignty
2006 October - Jan Pronk, the UN's top official in Sudan, is expelled.
2006 November - African Union extends mandate of its peacekeeping force in Darfur for six months.
Hundreds are thought to have died in the heaviest fighting between northern Sudanese forces and their former southern rebel foes since they signed a peace deal last year. Fighting is centred on the southern town of Malakal.
2007 April - Sudan says it will accept a partial UN troop deployment to reinforce African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, but not a full 20,000-strong force.
War crimes charges
2007 May - International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants for a minister and a Janjaweed militia leader suspected of Darfur war crimes.
US President George W Bush announces fresh sanctions against Sudan.
2007 July - UN Security Council approves a resolution authorising a 26,000-strong force for Darfur. Sudan says it will co-operate with the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid).
2007 October - SPLM temporarily suspends participation in national unity government, accusing Khartoum of failing to honour the 2005 peace deal.
2007 December - SPLM resumes participation in national unity government.
2008 January - UN takes over Darfur peace force.
Within days Sudan apologises after its troops fire on a convoy of Unamid, the UN-African Union hybrid mission.
Government planes bomb rebel positions in West Darfur, turning some areas into no-go zones for aid workers.
2008 February - Commander of the UN-African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, Balla Keita, says more troops needed urgently in west Darfur.
2008 March - Russia says it's prepared to provide some of the helicopters urgently needed by UN-African Union peacekeepers.
Tensions rise over clashes between an Arab militia and SPLM in Abyei area on north-south divide - a key sticking point in 2005 peace accord.
Presidents of Sudan and Chad sign accord aimed at halting five years of hostilities between their countries.
2008 April - Counting begins in national census which is seen as a vital step towards holding democratic elections after the landmark 2005 north-south peace deal.
UN humanitarian chief John Holmes says 300,000 people may have died in the five-year Darfur conflict.
2008 May - Southern defence minister Dominic Dim Deng is killed in a plane crash in the south.
Tension increases between Sudan and Chad after Darfur rebel group mounts raid on Omdurman, Khartoum's twin city across the Nile. Sudan accuses Chad of involvement and breaks off diplomatic relations.
Intense fighting breaks out between northern and southern forces in disputed oil-rich town of Abyei.
2008 June - President Bashir and southern leader Salva Kiir agree to seek international arbitration to resolve dispute over Abyei.
2008 July - The International Criminal Court's top prosecutor calls for the arrest of President Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur; the appeal is the first ever request to the ICC for the arrest of a sitting head of state. Sudan rejects the indictment.
2008 September - Darfur rebels accuse government forces backed by militias of launching air and ground attacks on two towns in the region.
2008 October - Allegations that Ukrainian tanks hijacked off the coast of Somalia were bound for southern Sudan spark fears of an arms race between the North and former rebels in the South.
2008 November - President Bashir announces an immediate ceasefire in Darfur, but the region's two main rebel groups reject the move, saying they will fight on until the government agrees to share power and wealth in the region.
2008 December - The Sudanese army says it has sent more troops to the sensitive oil-rich South Kordofan state, claiming that a Darfur rebel group plans to attack the area.
2009 January - Sudanese Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi is arrested after saying President Bashir should hand himself in to The Hague to face war crimes charges for the Darfur war.
2009 March - The International Criminal Court in The Hague issues an arrest warrant for President Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
2009 May - An estimated 250 people in central Sudan are killed during a week of clashes between nomadic groups fighting over grazing land and cattle in the semi-arid region of Southern Kordofan.
2009 June - Khartoum government denies it is supplying arms to ethnic groups in the south to destabilise the region.
The leader of South Sudan and vice-president of the country, Salva Kiir, warns his forces are being re-organised to be ready for any return to war with the north
Ex-foreign minister Lam Akol splits from South's ruling SPLM to form new party, SPLM-Democratic Change.
2009 July - North and south Sudan say they accept ruling by arbitration court in The Hague shrinking disputed Abyei region and placing the major Heglig oil field in the north.
Woman journalist tried and punished for breaching decency laws by wearing trousers. She campaigns to change the law.
2009 August - Darfur war is over, says UN military commander in the region, in comments condemned by activists.
2009 October - SPLM boycotts parliament over a Bill allowing intelligence services to retain widespread powers.
2009 December - Leaders of North and South reach deal on terms of referendum on independence due in South by 2011.
2010 January - President Omar Bashir says he would accept referendum result, even if South opted for independence.
2010 Feb-March - The Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) main Darfur rebel movement signs a peace accord with the government, prompting President Bashir to declare the Darfur war over. But failure to agree specifics and continuing clashes with smaller rebel groups endanger the deal.
2010 April - President Bashir gains new term in first contested presidential polls since 1986.
2010 July - International Criminal Court issues second arrest warrant for President al-Bashir - this time on charges of genocide.
2011 January - People of the South vote in favour of full independence from the north.
2011 May - Northern troops overrun town of Abyei on disputed border between north and south. South describes it as ''act of war''. Thousands flee.
South becomes independent
2011 July - South Sudan gains independence.
2011 September - State of emergency declared in Blue Nile state, elected SPLM-N Governor Malik Agar sacked. Some 100,000 said fleeing unrest.
2011 October - South Sudan and Sudan agree to set up several committees tasked with resolving their outstanding disputes.
2011 November - Sudan accused of bombing refugee camp in Yida, Unity State, South Sudan.
A Kenyan judge issues an arrest warrant for President Bashir, saying he should be detained if ever he sets foot in the country again.
2011 December - International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor requests arrest warrant for Sudan's defence minister, Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
Sudanese government forces kill key Darfur rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim.
2012 January - South Sudan halts oil production after talks on fees for the export of oil via Sudan break down.
2012 February-April - Sudan and South Sudan sign non-aggression pact at talks on outstanding secession issues, but border fighting breaks out.
2012 May - Sudan pledges to pull its troops out of the border region of Abyei, which is also claimed by South Sudan, as bilateral peace talks resume.
2012 June - Week-long protests in Khartoum at austerity measures spread from students to general public and turn into clashes with police. The government cut fuel and other subsidies because of the drop in oil revenues after the independence of South Sudan.
2012 August - Some 655,000 have been displaced or severely affected by fighting between the army and rebels in states bordering on South Sudan, the UN reports.
Sudan and South Sudan strike a last-minute deal on the South's export of oil via Sudan's pipelines.
2012 September - The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan agree trade, oil and security deals after days of talks in Ethiopia. They plan to set up a demilitarised buffer zone and lay the grounds for oil sales to resume. They fail however to resolve border issues including the disputed Abyei territory.
Clashes with rebels in Darfur and South Kordofan region.
2012 October - Explosions destroy an arms factory in Khartoum. Sudan accuses Israel of the attack on what is believed to be an Iranian-run plant making weaopns for Hamas in Gaza. Israel declines to comment.
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Congo Dem Republic
- Cote d'Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- The Gambia
- Western Sahara