Useful country information
Total area: 1,156,673 sq mi (1,861,484 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 35,482,233 (growth rate: 1.78%); birth rate: 30.01/1000; infant mortality rate: 52.86/1000; life expectancy: 63.32; density per sq mi: 42.4
Capital (2011 est.): Khartoum, 4.632 million
Largest cities: Omdurman, 2,395,159; Port Sudan, 489,275
Monetary unit: Dinar
Languages: Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, Fur
Ethnicity/race: Sudanese Arab (approximately 70%), Fur, Beja, Nuba, Fallata
Religions: Sunni Muslim, small Christian minority
National Holiday: Independence Day, January 1
Literacy rate: 71.9% (2011 est.)
A military coup, led by General Ibrahim Abboud, overthrew the government in 1958. Parliament was dismissed and martial law was declared, with Abboud as self-proclaimed Prime Minister.
Another coup in 1969, led this time by Colonel Jafaar Mohammed al-Nimeiry, set up government under a revolutionary council. Nimeiry became the Sudan's first elected President in 1972, and signed the Addis Ababa agreement, in an attempt to end strife between north and south. Uneasy peace was maintained for almost a decade and in 1983, Nimeiry was re-elected for a third term of office. His policies for economic recovery were ineffective, however, and unrest grew once more, resulting in Nimeiry's deposition in a bloodless coup in April 1985.
A year of military rule followed, before the rise of a new Mahdi. This was Sadiq al-Mahdi, the great-grandson of Mohammed Ahmad, but, despite many lofty promises of democracy, the new government proved weak and al-Mahdi was deposed in 1989.
His replacement was Lt. General Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, and Sudan was ruled by a 15-member Revolutionary Council. Throughout the 1990s, conditions have deteriorated in the Sudan. Non-Muslim rebels in the south, known as the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) are led by John Garang, a member of the southern Dinka tribe. The war between government and rebels continues, and many of the Sudanese people are displaced refugees, while many others are faced with economic ruin and the threat of starvation.
The northern opposition under the umbrella of the "National Democratic Alliance" (NDA), including the SPLM, had also took up arms against al-Bashir rule and occupied territories in eastern Sudan and northern Blue Nile.
In January 2005 the Sudan government has signed a preliminary peace agreement with the main opposition umbrella group, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, ater which, a referendum for independence is scheduled to be held.
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