Capital | Khartoum
Population | 41,087,825 (July 2010 est.)
Area | 2,505,810 SQ KM
Official Language | Arabic
Holidays | Independence Day, 1 January (1956 – from Egypt and the UK)
Currency | Sudanese pounds (SDG)
Time Zone | UTC+3
Best Time to Visit | November to March (during the dry season)
Connecting with the Culture | Riding the ferris wheel in Khartoum, from where you can see the two Niles, Blue and White, meet and meld after their lengthly journys from the African hinterland; Visiting the pyramids and hieroglyphs of Meroe, all that remains of Africa’s southern-most pharoes; Losing yourself in the atmospheric souqs (markets) and camel markets of Omdurman; Getting dizzy from the spinning of the whirling dervishes of Halgt Zikr; Wandering the melancholy ruins of abandoned Suakin, once a thriving Red Sea port full of coral houses
Read | Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, the compelling tale of a Sudanese man torn between the West and his homeland; or Emma’s War by Deborah Scroggins, the true and moving story of a British aid-worker who marries a Sudanese warlord
Listen | to Abdel Gadir Salim’s Merdoum Kings – big band arrangement of Sudanese songs
Eat | fuul (stewed brown beans) ta’amiya (the local equivalent of falafel) and fresh Nile perch
Drink | shai (tea)
In a Word | Tamam (good, well or right)
Characteristics | Bedouin in flowing robes; the untouched beauty of the Red Sea; Khartoum, a great city in the confluence of rivers amid the desert; Dinka, Nuer and Nuba tribespeople – tall and proud – most recently conflict in Darfur that has claimed thousands of lives.
Surprises | Diverse landscapes and accompanying diverse cultures from the arid north to the lush and mountainous south; overwhelming hospitality – a national point of pride.
NEWS ABOUT SUDAN
Sudan/South Sudan: A Tale of Two Neighbors
(HN, 4/3/12) - The top UN human rights official Navi Pillay has said that Sudan's indiscriminate bombing raids have resulted in civilian casualties in South Sudan & urged the 2 countries' governments to halt the escalating violence along their border areas where civilians are in South Sudan, including in Mayom & Bentiu in Unity State & in Warrap; resulting in the deaths of at least 8 & injuring 22 in attacks since Saturday. She also voiced alarm at South Sudan's "unwarranted occupation" of the oil-producing region of Heglig in Sudan's South Kordofan state, as well as over reports of a dramatic build-up in the number of northern militia in the disputed Abyei area the past few days.
Ms. Pillay supported the call by UNSG Ban Ki-moon to convene a planned presidential summit of the 2 countries as soon as possible & to renew a commitment, from both sides to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which formally ended 22 years of civil war between the neighbors. The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), Ms. Hilde Johnson, echoed Ms. Pillay's comments. Meanwhile aid agencies are struggling to keep up with the food & water needs of over 37,000 people in Jamam refugee camp fleeing violence across the border in Sudan's Blue Nile State. Oxfam, CARE, MSF, IOM, & UNHCR among others are all working in the area where it's said many people have diarrhea, & are eating tree leaves to survive. The UN & international agencies have warned of impending famine. (Read more at AllAfrica)
Concerns of War as Sudan, South Sudan Talks Stall
(Video via AJE)
(HN, 4/5/12) - Sudan & South Sudan (the world's newest nation) have been in talks aimed at resolving outstanding post-independence issues, but mistrust between the neighbor nations over issues such as oil & citizenship has persisted. South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July last year, 6 years after the signing of the peace agreement that ended decades of warfare between the north & the south. But Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was deeply concerned about continued fighting along the border & urged the 2 countries' leaders - Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir & South Sudan's President Salva Kiir - to meet as soon as possible - & as had been planned for April 3rd, but then cancelled - to ensure a quick end to the conflict.
Agreements between the countries had already been reached - breached now by bombings & attacks from both sides along the disputed Abyei border area. The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), describes the refugee situation as “unpredictable” having "deteriorated" over the past week; with over 400 people being displaced, & about 80 casualties. In total, more than 85,000 refugees have reportedly been registered due to people fleeing the fighting; over 49,000 of them are stationed in Doro, while about 36,000 people are in the Jammam camp refugee sites. Aid groups are struggling to keep up with the food & water needs of the people in the camp. (Read more at ALLAFRICA)
UN concerned over refugee safety as fighting persists near South Sudan-Sudan border
(HN, 3/28/12) - Sudanese warplanes Tuesday launched fresh air raids on oil-rich areas of South Sudan, threatening recent peace overtures. Earlier in the day, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir suspended a scheduled April 3 summit to meet with his southern counterpart Salva Kiir in Juba - following Monday border clashes - tho Southern officials later said the invitation still stood. The Sudanese foreign ministry said the bombing was Khartoum's response to an oil field attack by the South "inside Sudanese territory." Kiir, however, said northern bombers & ground troops struck 1st, before Juba's troops fought back & took the Heglig oil hub. The latest fighting folos a controversial "framework agreement" reached earlier this month at African Union-led talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which gives nationals of each state the right to live, move & carry on economic activities in the other state.
Heavy fighting in Blue Nile has led to a humanitarian crisis & triggered massive displacement. The UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) warned that the bombings put the lives of more than 16,000 Sudanese refugees in the Yida camp in Sudan's South Kordofan at risk & urged them to move. Some 2,300 refugees have already moved south to safer sites in Nyeel & Pariang. In February, UNHCR carried out a full registration of the camp's inhabitants, as well as a nutrition survey & a comprehensive measles vaccination campaign for children; World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed food rations. In total, more than 105,000 Sudanese refugees from the states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have sought refuge. Another 30,000 refugees fled Blue Nile into Ethiopia. (Read more at the Sudan Tribune)