Sudan

Map of Sudan

Capital:           Khartoum

Population: 43 939 598

Independence from Uk and Egypt in Jun 1956

Area: Total 2,505,813 km2 (10th)

Economy: US$ 98 926 billion

Per capita Annual income:  US$ 2 200 – nr 187 out of 230.

They drive on the right side.

Sudan is a country in northeastern Africa and is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Kenya and Uganda to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west and Libya to the northwest. The world’s longest river, the Nile, divides the country between east and west sides. Its capital is Khartoum, which serves as the political, cultural and commercial centre of the nation, while Omdurman is the largest city.

The people of Sudan have a long history extending from antiquity which is intertwined with the history of Egypt, with which it was united politically over several periods. After gaining independence from Egypt and the United Kingdom in 1956, Sudan suffered seventeen years of civil war during the First Sudanese Civil War (1955–1972) followed by ethnic, religious and economic conflicts between the Northern Sudanese (with Arab and Nubian roots), and the Christian and animist Nilotes of Southern Sudan.This led to the Second Sudanese Civil War in 1983, and because of continuing political and military struggles.

Sudan was seized in a bloodless coup d’état by colonel Omar al-Bashir in 1989, who thereafter proclaimed himself President of Sudan. The civil war ended with the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement which granted autonomy to the southern region of the country. Following a referendum held in January 2011, Southern Sudan will secede on 9 July 2011.

Sudan is the largest, yet one of the least visited, countries in Africa. Although various ongoing conflicts mean much of this vast nation remains off limits, travel is possible in the northeast, and in parts of the south, where Africa transitions into the tropics. Visitors invariably agree that the Sudanese are among the friendliest and most hospitable people on earth, with a natural generosity that belies their poverty, and this alone makes any trip worthwhile. Whether you rush through on a Cairo to Cape Town trip, or spend a slow month soaking up the history and hospitality, visiting Sudan is an eye-opening and rewarding experience.

History :

Archaeological evidence has confirmed that the area in the east of Sudan, Nubia, was inhabited at least 70,000 years ago. A settled culture appeared around 8000 BC. They subsisted on hunting, fishing and grain foraging and kept cattle and sheep.

The area was known to the Egyptians as the Kush and had strong cultural and religious ties to Egypt.

By the 6th century, fifty states had emerged as the political and cultural heirs of the Meroitic Kingdom. The Nubian kings became Monophysite Christians. However, Makuria was of the Melkite Christian faith.

Islam progressed in the area over a long period of time through intermarriage and contacts with Arab merchants and settlers, particularly the Sufi nobles of Arabia. Today’s northern Sudanese culture combines Nubian and Arabic elements.

The government was substantially weakened by a series of succession arguments and coups within the royal family. In 1820, the Albanian-Ottoman ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, had invaded and conquered northern Sudan. The Egyptian authorities made significant improvements to the Sudanese infrastructure (mainly in the north), especially with regard to irrigation and cotton production.

The Mahdiyah (Mahdist regime) did not impose Islamic laws. The new ruler’s aim was more political than anything else. This was evident in the animosity he showed towards existing Muslims and locals who did not show loyalty to his system and rule.

Originally, the Mahdiyah was a jihad state, run like a military camp

In the 1890s, the British sought to re-establish its control over Sudan, once more officially in the name of the Egyptian Khedive. Britain wanted to establish control over the Nile to safeguard a planned irrigation dam at Aswan.

From 1924 until independence in 1956, the British had a policy of running Sudan as two essentially separate territories, the north (Muslim) and south (Christian). The last British Governor-General was Sir Robert Howe.

In 1955, the year before independence, a civil war began between Northern and Southern Sudan. The southerners, anticipating independence, feared the new nation would be dominated by the north. The resulting conflict lasted from 1955 to 1972.

In 1972, a cessation of the north-south conflict was agreed upon under the terms of the Addis Ababa Agreement

In 1983, the civil war was reignited following President Gaafar Nimeiry’s decision to circumvent the Addis Ababa Agreement.

On 30 June 1989, colonel Omar al-Bashir led a group of army officers in ousting the unstable coalition government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi in a bloodless military coup.

The war went on for more than twenty years, On 16 October 1993, al-Bashir’s powers increased when he appointed himself President of the country. During the1990s they reached out to Islamic fundamentalist groups, as well as allowing them to operate out of Sudan, even personally inviting Osama bin Laden to the country. The United States subsequently listed Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism and U.S. firms were barred from doing business in Sudan.

Peace talks between the southern rebels and the government made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004. The peace was consolidated with the official signing by both sides of the Nairobi Comprehensive Peace Agreement 9 January 2005, granting Southern Sudan autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum about independence.

In January 2011, in a referendum agreed to by the central government, Southern Sudanese voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of independence from Sudan; the region is set to become independent on 9 July 2011.

War in Darfur

Just as the long north-south civil war was reaching a resolution, some clashes occurred in the western region of Darfur in the early 1970s between the pastoral tribes. The rebels accused the central government of neglecting the Darfur region economically, 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.

On 9 September 2004, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell termed the Darfur conflict, a genocide, claiming it as the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. So far, over 2.5 million civilians have been displaced and the death toll is variously estimated from 200,000 to 400,000 killed.

On 5 May 2006, the Sudanese government and Darfur’s largest rebel group, the SLM (Sudanese Liberation Movement), signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, which aimed at ending the three-year-long conflict. Darfurians—Arab and non-Arab alike— distrust a government in Khartoum that has brought them nothing but trouble.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor on Darfur, Luis Moreno Ocampo, announced on 14 July 2008, ten criminal charges against Bashir, accusing him of sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Chad-Sudan conflict officially started on 23 December 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 “. 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.”

Despite his international arrest warrant, al-Bashir was a candidate in the 2010 Sudanese presidential election, the first democratic election with multiple political parties participating in twenty-four years. Al-Bashir was declared the winner of the election with sixty-eight percent of the vote. There was considerable concern amongst the international community of a return to violence in the run-up to the January 2011 southern Sudan referendum, with post-referendum issues such as oil-revenue sharing and border demarcation not yet resolved.

Foreign relations of Sudan

Sudan has had a troubled relationship with many of its neighbors and much of the international community owing to what is viewed as its aggressively Islamic stance. For much of the 1990s, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia formed an ad-hoc alliance called the “Front Line States” with support from the United States to check the influence of the National Islamic Front government. The Sudanese Government supported anti-Uganda rebel groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The U.S. has listed Sudan as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1993. U.S. firms have been barred from doing business in Sudan since 1997.In 1998, the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum was destroyed by a U.S. cruise-missile strike because of its alleged production of chemical weapons and links to al-Qaeda.

Sudan has extensive economic relations with China. China gets ten percent of its oil from Sudan, and, according to a former Sudanese government minister, China is Sudan’s largest supplier of arms.

Human rights in Sudan and Slavery in Sudan.

The U.S. government’s 21 October 2002 Sudan Peace Act accused Sudan of genocide in the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983–2005), which has cost more than two million lives and has displaced more than four million people. It is estimated that as many as 200,000 people had been taken into slavery during that war, the slaves are mostly Dinka people.

However, the number of war prisoners being forced into slavery increased significantly during and after the Second Sudanese Civil War, as Omar al-Bashir seized power in 1989. Since 1995, international rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and CASMAS have reported that slavery in Sudan is a common fate of captives in the Second Sudanese Civil War and rebels fighting in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in connections to the war in Darfur

Rainfall:

The amount of rainfall increases towards the south. In the north there is the very dry Nubian Desert; in the south there are swamps and rainforest. Sudan’s rainy season lasts for about three months (July to September) in the north, and up to six months (June to November) in the south. The dry regions are plagued by sandstorms, known as haboob, which can completely block out the sun. In the northern and western semi-desert areas, people rely on the scant rainfall for basic agriculture and many are nomadic, travelling with their herds of sheep and camels. Nearer the River Nile, there are well-irrigated farms growing cash crops.

There are several dams on the Blue and White Niles. Among them are the Sennar and Roseires Dams on the Blue Nile, and the Jebel Aulia Dam on the White Nile. There is also Lake Nubia on the Sudanese-Egyptian border.

Economy of Sudan

Despite being the 17th-fastest-growing economy in the world with new economic policies and infrastructure investments, Sudan still faces formidable economic problems, as it must rise from a very low level of per capita output. Since 1997, Sudan has been implementing the macroeconomic reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund.

In 1999, Sudan began exporting crude oil (mostly to China) and in the last quarter of 1999, recorded its first trade surplus. Increased oil production (the current production is about 520,000 barrels per day) revive light industry, and expanded export.

Oil is Sudan’s main export and the production is increasing dramatically. With rising oil revenues the Sudanese economy is booming, with a growth rate of about nine percent in 2007.

Agriculture production remains Sudan’s most-important sector, employing eighty percent of the workforce and contributing thirty-nine percent of GDP, but most farms remain rain-fed and susceptible to drought.

The Merowe Dam, also known as Merowe Multi-Purpose Hydro Project or Hamdab Dam, is a large construction project in Northern Sudan, about 350 kilometres  north of the capital, Khartoum. It is situated on the River Nile, close to the Fourth Cataract where the river divides into multiple smaller branches with large islands in between. Merowe is a city about 40 kilometres  downstream from the dam’s construction site.

The Azande, Bor, and Jo Luo are “Sudanic” tribes in the west, and the Lotuko and Acholi live in the extreme south, extending into Uganda. Unlike northern Sudan, Arabisation and Islamisation have been limited in the south as the region’s permanent merger with the north is relatively recent, dating back to the union with Egypt in the 19th century. Besides, the north and the south were administered as separate districts between 1924 and 1956 as mentioned earlier. As a result, Arab self-identification amongst people in the south is almost exclusively limited to those of northern Sudanese origin.

GEDAREF:

The geographical feature of the city is marked by a group of hills surrounding it. That why some people think that its name is driven from the Arabic word equivalent to mountain ranges. The climate is hot rainy in the summer. The rainy season extends to four months with an average of annual rainfall of 700 to 900 mm.
Gedaref is a trade center of grains and a well-known agriculture area where a Mechanized Scheme of Agriculture has been introduced since 1954. Machines carry out all stages of cultivating. 70% of the total mechanized farming in the Sudan is carried out in Gedaref. The aim of the Mechanized Farming is to develop areas. Many individual farms grew suddenly and scattred over the whole area surrounding Gedarif such as Um-seinat, Al-Ghadambliya etc.
The city is linked with Khartoum through Wad Medani by a net of roads, rail road, and seasonal direct roads. Gedarif is about 410 km. far from Khartoum.

The population of Gedaref which was mainly formed of Arab nomad tribes of Shukriya during the early history of city has rapidly changed in the last century. Dwellers who belong to various nationalities had settled in the area along with the indigenous people.

In the autumn during the rainy seasons or the “Kharief” as it locally called there are large pools of water, green meadows with trees of various kinds of acacia. You smell the lovely smell of wet earth mixed with aroma of the spring flowers. Birds sing and enjoy the greenery of Gedarif. They came from far distance in the earth, as far as Siberia in Russia or the Punjab of India. The early advent of the Flamingo flock or the “ simbirya” as it locally called gives the sign of the beginning of the “Kharif”.
The people, as every where in the Sudan, are friendly, polite and easy-going. They are gentle and approachable. Just look for students, government employees, intellectuals or English speaking young men who can help in finding your way there. You can visit the people in their huts. They may offer you accommodation.

DOKA:

Doka is a town in southern Sudan – no further info available.

KHARTOUM:

Khartoum is the capital of Sudan and is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet, is known as “al-Mogran”. The main Nile continues to flow north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea.

Divided by the Niles, Khartoum has an estimated overall population of over five million people consisting of Khartoum proper, and linked by bridges to Khartoum North called (al-Khartūm Bahrī) and Omdurman (Umm Durmān) to the west.

The word ‘Khartoum’ is derived from Arabic Al-kartoūm الخرطوم meaning “end of an elephant’s trunk”, probably referring to the narrow strip of land extending between the Blue and White Niles.

History.

Khartoum was founded in 1821 as an outpost for the Egyptian Army. The settlement grew as a regional center of trade, including the slave trade.

When Sudan became independent in 1956, Khartoum became the capital of the new country. Since Britain left the Sudan in 1956, there has not been peace due to the hurried nature of the independence granted Sudan, which forced the very different Muslim North into a union with the Christian South. Since this time, 3.8 million have died and have been displaced or had their lives destroyed.

The first oil pipeline between Khartoum and Port Sudan was completed in 1977.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Khartoum was the destination for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflicts in neighbouring nations such as Chad, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda. The Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees assimilated into society which some of the other refugees settled in large slums at the outskirts of the city. From the mid-1980s onward, large numbers of South Sudanese and Darfuri internally displaced from the violence of the Second Sudanese Civil War and Darfur conflict have settled around Khartoum.

Following the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, the United States accused Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda group of responsibility and launched cruise missile attacks (20 August) on the al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum North. The destruction of the factory produced diplomatic tension between the U.S. and Sudan. The ruins of the factory are a tourist attraction.

Climate;

Khartoum features a hot arid climate, with only the months of July and August seeing significant precipitation. Based on average annual temperatures, Khartoum is quite possibly the hottest major city on the planet. Temperatures may exceed 53 °C in mid-summer. Its average annual high temperature is 38 °C with seven months of the year seeing an average monthly high temperature of at least 38 °C.

Population:

2008 Census Preliminary 5,274,321

Economy:

Khartoum has a thriving economy. In recent years Khartoum has seen significant development, driven by Sudan’s oil wealth.

Among the city’s industries are printing, glass manufacturing, food processing, and textiles. Petroleum products are now produced in the far north of Khartoum state, providing fuel and jobs for the city. One of Sudan’s largest refineries is located in northern Khartoum. Moreover, a number of East-Asian companies have recently shown interest in the realization of a new project which will lead to the creation of new telecommunication services throughout the country.

Atbarah is a town of 111,399 (2007) located in River Nile State in northeastern Sudan. It is located at the junction of the Nile and Atbarah rivers. It is an important railway junction and railroad manufacturing centre, and most employment in Atbarah is related to the rail lines. It is known as the “Railway City’ and The National Railway Company’s headquarters are actually located here in Atbarah.

The confluence of the Nile and its most northern tributary, the Atbarah or Black River was a strategic location for military operations. The first trade union in Sudan formed in 1946 among railroad workers in Atbarah. The city also is home to one of Sudan’s largest cement factories (Atbara Cement Corporation). The town was the centre of the Sudanese railway industry. Few trains are made here now and rail traffic is much reduced. The original station and unusual dome-shaped houses of railway workers remain.

Perhaps because of the influence of the railway unions, Atbara is also considered by many to be the home of Sudanese communism. Jaafar Nimeiri, Sudan’s president throughout the 1970s, alternated between communism, rabid capitalism and Islamic fundamentalism – depending on who he was trying to get on his side and extract money from – and the communist phase had its stronghold around Atbara.

KARIMA:

Karima is a town in Northern State in Sudan some 400 km from Khartoum. It lies on a loop on the River Nile and is also a terminus of a branch narrow gauge railway of the Sudan Railways system

WAD MEDANI.

Wad Madani lies on the west bank of the Blue Nile, nearly 85 miles southeast of Khartoum.  It is linked by rail to Khartoum and is the center of a cotton-growing region. The city is also the center of local trade in wheat, peanuts, barley, and livestock.

The beaches of Wad Madani are situated on the eastern river bank of the Blue Nile, which flows into Sudan from Ethiopia. The city’s facilities are more modernized than most places in the Sudan (except the Khartoum area).

ABU DOM.

No information about Abu Dom.

DELGO.

Delgo is a settlement in Northern Province, Sudan. Horatio Kitchener’s railroad formerly passed through the town, and the rail embankment is still clearly visible. Delgo is also the site of an important ancient Nubian temple.

WADI HALFA HARBOUR.

The town is actually the new Wadi Halfa; the original Wadi Halfa was submerged when the Aswan High Dam created Lake Nasser in 1971. Sudan’s military dictatorship forcibly removed the approximately 50,000 inhabitants of the area from their lands and relocated to the desert, where many died of malaria and other diseases. A few Wadi Halfans, however, remain along the Nile, the river that built their ancestors’ identities as fishermen and river traders, building built new settlements several times and finally settling on the current location when the flooding stopped. Seasonal flooding still occurs.

Alcohol is illegal in Sudan. All of the eateries around the main square serve tea, and Wadi Halfans, Egyptian tradesmen and tourists tend to gather there for a few cups to watch the world go by.

For most of the year, there are several hotels in Wadi Halfa, although after the rains, many close for repairs. All are similar, offering string beds, bucket showers, mud floors, a courtyard and clean rooms. Many have no signs so ask around.

NB If you wait for more than a couple of days in Wadi Halfa, all transport will have left and you may be stranded until the next weekly ferry arrives.

Taken from a Blog:

“The road to Wadi Halfa isn’t so much a road but a dirt track linking the dusty villages that dot the banks of the Nile. But this is not the road that we take. A new road pours out of Dongola and we are swept along in the current. Straight and black, the road slices through endless grey. Occasionally the Nile fights its way back into view; the vegetation that clings to its banks slashes the horizon green. But for the most part: grey sands. Black rocks. Not even a lonely service station to break the monotony.

Miles and nothing. Miles of nothingness. Nothing but miles.
We hadn’t thought to refuel at Dongola and the endless road was making us nervous. We resolved to go the river to find fuel and turned off our slick tarmac path onto a coarse dirt road. We reached the river and then slowly followed it past mud-brick houses that watched us with empty eyes and howling black mouths. Where was everybody?
Suddenly, a mosque. A sudden splash of colour. Suddenly people.

We gestured to the fuel tank. Empty. A knowing laugh and then a man in the backseat alongside me. A pointing finger directed us to a goat pen, then into a mud hut with a tired leaf roof. A rusting fuel tank, a hose and a plastic jerry-can later, we had fuel and gave our thanks. We paid a token sum but had to decline tea. We ought to be going.

But to where exactly, we were unsure.”

Most of the Information comes from Wikipedia, Wikitravel and Lonely Planet.

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