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Fighting broke out in June 2011 between Sudan’s government and Nuban rebels. Nuba Reports was founded by people living in the region after journalists and NGOs were banned. Our goal is to provide Sudan and the International community with credible and compelling dispatches from the front lines of this conflict and to illuminate the war’s impact on civilians. more

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The Opposition

There is no unifying political trend or issue that unites opposition parties and politics in Sudan. Some opposition groups come from the same political elite in Khartoum that gave rise to the NCP. Other groups, such as the SPLM grew out of disenfranchised communities in the south and other underrepresented areas in Sudan. Others still come from the ruling party itself, and ended up in opposition due to political struggles within the NCP. The only shared ideal among opposition groups is the desire to see political change in Khartoum, though even the nature of that change is a matter of disagreement.


Rebel Commanders

Malik Agar

Malik Agar is the commander of SPLA-North forces in Blue Nile and the overall chairman of the SPLM-North and the Sudan Revolutionary Front. Agar was elected governor of Sudan’s Blue Nile State in the April 2010 Sudanese General Elections. Agar was dismissed from his post in September 2011 by Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, who declared a state of emergency.

Abdelaziz al Hilu:

Al Hilu is the commander of SPLA-North forces in Sudan’s South Kordofan state. Al Hilu ran for governor of South Kordofan in the April 2010 general elections but lost to current governor Ahmed Haroun. The SPLM-North has dismissed the election results as “rigged.”

Minni Minawi

Minawi is a former school teacher and the leader of the Sudanese Liberation Army faction, SLA-MM, fighting Sudanese government forces and Janjaweed militia in Darfur. Originally part of the unified SLA, Minawi split from the group to form SLA-MM, taking the SLA’s large contingent of ethnic Zaghawa with him. In 2006, Minawi signed a peace agreement with Khartoum and accepted a position within the government. However in 2010, as war in Darfur continued, he withdrew from the peace agreement and reformed the SLA-MM. In 2011 Minawi joined the SRF, a coalition of rebel groups fighting primarily in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Abdul Wahed al Nur

The leader of the Sudanese Liberation Army faction SLAAW, fighting Sudanese government forces and Janjaweed militia in Darfur. Wahed formed the SLA-AW following the departure of commander Minni Minawi from the SLA. The SLA-AW is comprised primarily of the Fur ethnic group, of which Abdul Wahed is also a member. In 2011 Wahed joined the SRF, a coalition of rebel groups fighting primarily in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Gibril Ibrahim

Ibrahim is the leader of Darfur’s Justice and Equality Movement – JEM. Ibrahim is the brother of Khalil Ibrahim, who helped found JEM in the early 2000s. Gibril Ibrahim was elected chairman of the group in 2012, after his brother Khalil was killed a government attack in North Darfur. Since taking over, Gibril has encouraged cooperation with other military groups in Sudan, especially SPLA-N forces in South Kordofan.

armed groups

Armed Groups

Sudan Revolutionary Front

The SRF is a political and military alliance of opposition and rebel groups in Sudan’s Blue Nile, Darfur and South Kordofan regions. The alliance includes the Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. The Alliance was formed in November 2011 and is led by SPLM-North chairman Malik Agar.


the Justice and Equality Movement is a rebel group fighting government forces in Sudan’s Darfur region. In late 2011, founder and longtime JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim was killed by Sudanese forces and eventually replaced by brother Gibril Ibrahim. Since Ibrahim’s death, several small factions of the rebel group have split with the group and signed peace agreements with Khartoum.


The Sudan Liberation Army / Movement is a political and military group fighting government forces in Sudan’s Darfur region. The SLA is split into two groups: the forces led by Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) and those led by Abdul Wahed (SLA-AW).


The Sudan People’s Liberation Army – North is the military wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North. The SPLA-N is fighting government forces in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile States. The group fought with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army during the Second Sudanese civil war, which eventually led to South Sudan’s independence. The SPLA-N split from South Sudan’s SPLA following the country’s independence in July 2011. Khartoum has repeatedly accused South Sudan of continuing to fund their former comrades, a claim which South Sudan denies. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, the rebel leaders in South Kordofan and Blue Nile laid down their arms. Fighting again broke out between the two groups in June of 2011, following a series of political and electoral disputes in Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

political opposition

Political Opposition

Yasir Arman

Arman is the Secretary General of the SPLM-North. Arman frequently serves as the SPLM-North’s negotiator in African Union talks with Khartoum. Arman initially stood as the unified SPLM candidate in the April 2010 Sudanese Presidential elections. Just before the vote, Arman pulled out of the race as part of the SPLM’s partial election boycott in protest of ongoing hostilities in Darfur.

Hassan al Turabi

Hassan al Turabi is a former speaker of parliament and a key player in the 1989 coup that brought President al Bashir to power. Turabi is a longtime leader of Islamist politics in Sudan, heading the former National Islamic Front party and serving as Secretary General of the NCP from 1998-2000. In 1999 President Bashir dissolved parliament, effectively removing Turabi from power. The following year, Turabi formed the Popular Congress Party but has had limited influence in Sudanese Politics since.

Sadiq al Mahdi

The leader of the Umma Party and Prime Minister of Sudan in 1976 and from 1986-1989. Al Mahdi led the last democratically elected civilian government before being overthrown by military officers led by Omar al Bashir. Al Mahdi is also the greatgrandson of Muhammad Ahmad al Mahdi (The Mahdi), who led a revolt in 1881 against Egyptian forces and subsequently defeated British colonial forces lead by General Charles Gordon. The Mahdist revolt prompted another British punitive expedition which led the United Kingdom to take formal control of Sudan. During his second term as Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi was supportive of reconciliation efforts with the SPLA – including meeting their demand to end Sharia Law.

Muhammad Othman Al-Mirghani

Al Mirghani is the current leader of the Democratic Unionist Party as well as the head of the Khattmiya Sufi sect – traditionally opposed to the Ansar sect supporting the Sadiq al Mahdi and the Umma Party. Mirghani is also the leader of the National Democratic Alliance, a coalition of political parties opposed to the NCP-led government.

political opposition

Opposition Political Parties


the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North is a political group representing people in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, which SPLM-North leaders say have been politically and economically marginalized by the Sudanese Government. The SPLM-N was created when South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011, separating the SPLM leadership in Blue Nile and South Kordofan from the broader SPLM party. The SPLM-N is lead by Chairman Malik Agar and Vice Chairman Abdelaziz al Hilu, who command the SPLA-N forces in Blue Nile and South Kordofan respectively. The SPLM-N Secretary General is Yasir Arman, who often negotiates on behalf of the group.


The Democratic Unionist Party was created by the 1967 merger of the National Unionist Party and People’s Democratic Party. The party favors the unity of Sudan and historically supported union between Sudan and Egypt. The DUP is lead Muhammad Othman Al-Mirghani the head of the Khattmiya Sufi order and the former leader of the National Democratic Alliance. In the late 1980s DUP politicians were among the first to reach out to SPLA/M leaders to end the civil war in the south – even signing an accord with the SPLA agreeing to end Sharia law – shortly before the overthrow of Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi in 1989.


The Umma Party is a nationalist movement derived, historically, from followers of The Mahdi and chiefly opposed – in its early incarnations – to Egyptian colonial rule. The Umma party has traditionally been led by descendants of The Mahdi, and is currently led by great-grandson Sadiq al Mahdi. The party – which had played a prominent role in Sudanese politics – has been sidelined since the 1989 coup, which overthrew then-Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi.


The Popular Congress Party, led and created by Hassan al Turabi, is an ofshoot of the ruling National Congress Party. While devoted to Islamism in Sudan, the PCP split from the NCP following a power struggle between Turabi and President al Bashir for control of the NCP. Since the split the PCP has been a vocal critic of the NCP if not a significant challenger.


The Salafist movement has grown in recent years as an expression of dissatisfaction with the ruling NCP government as well as traditional opposition groups. The movement itself is very fragmented, with diferent branches using diferent religious justifications for their actions. Some Salafi groups have branded political leaders as heretical, while others have opted to disengage completely from traditional party politics.


The Sudanese Communist Party is one of Sudan’s oldest political parties and the country’s only major left-wing political group. The SCP is Sudan’s traditional working class party. It draws its traditional support from industrial workers in Khartoum as well as employees of large state-run agricultural schemes in Gezira state.The party was founded in 1946 as part of the movement to end the Anglo-Egyptian condominium. The party played key roles in the 1964 October Revolution as well as the 1985 uprising. The SCP is also an active critic of the NCP-led government.