The separation of Sudan came as a result of conflict that arose between the northern Muslims and the southern Christians. It was due to the oppression of the Christians that created a state of emergency in Southern Sudan. According to Hackett (1), years of conflict in Sudan between the northern Muslims and the southern Christians were characterized by genocide attack on Christians which saw each day hundreds of Christian disappearing. He points out that the southern Sudanese through their defense forces, Sudan People’s Liberation Army, were outraged by the Sudanese government authoritarian ruling of imposing Islamic laws on the entire country and moreover, create a state of autonomy in the Southern part of Sudan that would see the Christians depend on their little or no resources, thereby resulting to more death among them. As a result the SPLA rebel group launched attack on the northern- southern border which in turn created a blood war between the south and the north.

According to Hackett (1), the situation in 1989 was complicated by the continued attack on the southern-northern borders of Sudan by the SPLA government forces, and the bloodless seizing of power by Omar al-Bashir. He notes that the merciless Omar al-Bashir not only extended his powers to rule in the Sudan government including the parliament, but he also established a powerful military unit, the People Defense Forces (PDF), that would allow the north gaining control over the south on Sudan’s major economic resources. He wanted to control the oil reserves and main cities and have his regime extended the Islamic doctrines and law to the entire country. This led to intense war between the SPLA and the PDF in the south/north borders resulting to liberation of the south Sudan from Sudan.

 Addressing the concerned topic, separation of Sudan, the write up discusses the conflict which led to the separation and the impact of the separation of Sudan’s resources. It also discusses how to resolve problems that are emanating from the continued conflict between the South and the North even after their separation.

The Conflict

As pointed out by Hackett (1), dating from 1800s, the Northern Sudan and Southern Sudan were mainly populated by the Islamic and Christian groups respectively, whose religious doctrines operated differently. He points out that while the Southern Sudanese were mostly Christian and African cultures, the Northern Sudanese were mainly Arab Muslim invaders who practiced slavery and were characterized by inhumane and cruelty human activities. According to him, the British resolution to join these two multi-religious groups into one Sudan nation in 1947 was an atrocious mistake as it resulted in the war between these two regions. For instance, he notes that in 1955, the first Civil War broke in Sudan. This was because the South Sudanese felt oppressed by the Northern Islamic regime and fought to liberate themselves from the north that had violated their human dignity. He points out that the war which lasted for 17 years resulted in the death of more than one million Southern Sudanese which ultimately resulted in the signing of Addis Ababa peace agreement. However, the peace agreement did not last for so long. By 1983, a Second Civil War broke in Sudan which was immensely religious battle between the northern Muslims and the southern Christians.

According to Tadess (3), the southern Sudan rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) led by Colonel John Garang de-Mabior felt that the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement was not going to fully liberate the southern Christian population from the authoritarian Islamic rule. They knew that the north wanted to impose Islamic law to the entire population. Thus, the south started attacks on the Sudan’s military army and the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) in the southern/northern borders. He points out that under the authority and command of President Gaafar Nimiery, the dreadful civil war continued at the southern/northern borders between the SPLA rebel group and the government military defense forces. This war imposed humanitarian crises as thousands of Sudanese perished out of drought and famine that had resulted from the war targeting the Sudanese economic resources and religious groupings.

However, the bloodless coup d'état that overthrew the President Gaafar Nimiery from power by Omar al-Bashir, was envied as one of the strategies that would promote peace in the country and more so liberate the south Sudan from Sudan. But, as Hackett (1) points out, the President Omar al-Bashir’s regime was characterized by bloodiest attacks on the Southerners as compared to the regime of President Gaafar Nimiery. He notes that al-Bashir who took power in 1989, had established a powerful regime by 1999 that saw him dictating both the parliament and Sudan’s economic resources such as oil reserves and major economic boosting cities. Even though, the al-Bashir’s government was controlling major cities in the Southern Sudan, the SPLA who were commanding a large population outside the major cities continuously attacked the government defense forces and transportation networks. This in turn hindered the transportation of food products to the Southern Region thereby creating hunger calamities and hence bringing more deaths (Hackett, 1).

Hackett (1) points out that, the United States and the United Nations got concerned with the humanitarian crisis posed by the war. They talked to both sides for Operation Lifeline Sudan that would enabled distribution of thousands tons of food and healthcare services in the regions which were dominated by the war. He notes that the relief food intervention in Sudan by the U.S. and UN acted as their gateway in initiating peace agreement between the government and the SPLA rebel group. For instance, the U.S.’s Sudan Peace Act in 2002 saw the America’s government condemning the President al-Bashir regime of undermining the peace negotiation that was on-going by atrociously claiming 2 million lives of the southern Sudanese population (Hackett, 1). However, this did not affect the peace negotiation as the international communities continuously exercised pressure on both, the warring government forces and SPLA forces to make peace.

According to Tadess (3), South-North war began to fade out especially in 2005 when an interim peace agreement was reached upon by the two warring sides through international community intervention. It lasted though not to long and was broken in 2010. He notes that under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the fate of Southern Sudan was to be based on the referendum that was supposed to be conducted in 2010 to determine whether southern Sudanese were willing to be separated. He points out that the agreement also stipulated the equal sharing of the oil revenues between the south and the north and further. In addition, it also proposed the establishment of strong Sudan defense force between the PDF and SPLA in case south Sudanese vote against separations. In addition, the agreement noted the retention of the Islamic law in the north, but the law to be voted for by the south Sudanese.

Even though, President Omar al-Bashir assimilated the inclusion of the Islamic law in the Southern constitution for fear that awaited 2011 referendum would result in separation, this did not prevent the Southerners from voting for separation which resulted to a rebirth of the new South Sudan nation in 2011 (Shaoul, 1).

Impact of Separation of Resources

According to Shaoul (1), the separation of Sudan which in turn led to the separation of resources is the main contributor to the new war conflict between the Sudan and the Southern Sudan. He points out that, even though the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) stipulated that Sudan and Southern Sudan should equally share oil revenues, the resolution did not address pediment issues that are adamantly related to the sharing of the resources. He notes that the agreement did not address the demarcation of borders between the two countries which touches on the oil exploration areas at which the current conflict arises.

As pointed out by Tadess (6), the main stakeholders of the CPA agreement, the National Congress Party (NCP), and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) even after the recess of the South Sudan referendum continues to differ on various important issues regarding the resources distribution between the Sudan and Southern Sudan. He notes that the oil reservation areas, oil revenue distribution, Nile fresh water, and land boundaries continue causing tension between the two states thereby leading to the eruption of conflicts. For instance, the boundary dispute over the ownership of Abeyei which is not only rich in oil resources, but also offers rich grazing land, has become the battlefield between Sudan and Southern Sudan.

According to Tadess (11), Abyei which is primary located Northern Bahr al Ghazal and the United States in the South is comprised of Ngok Dinka ethnic community who are Christians and the Misseriya ethnic group who belong to the Arab Muslims. He points out that the ethnic and religious difference in Abyei has resulted into a sustained battle. The war has been between the Sudan who support Misseriya and the Southern Sudan who supports Ngok Dinka over the grazing land and oil resources. He notes that Misseriya, the nomads, are normally against the separation of Sudan as they expressed their fears of losing their grazing lands and water resources to the South. In an effort to capture the fertile oil with rich oil deposits, both of the countries have respectively supported their preferred groups especially in engaging in war activities.

For instance, in May 2011, violence broke out in Abyei between the armed Misseriya ethnic group and the Dinka Ngok forces over the oil deposit. This led to the migration of over 100, 000 civilian people from the area (Shaoul, 1). He points out that even though Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his South Sudan counterpart President Salvar Kirr agreed to seek international diplomacy to resolve the stalemate in the region, this had no effect as their defense groups, both Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan’s People’s Liberation Army in conjunction with Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS) all formed influential war commanders in the region. For instance, the attack on the United Nations Mission in Sudan’s (UNMIS) convoy who were transporting SAF members in the northern Abyei town by SPLA group led to their counter attack on SPLA/SSPS in an attempt to gain control over Abyei due to its rich oil deposit.

According to Shaoul (1), most of the oil deposits are located in the Republic of South Sudan with Sudan acting as the main oil distribution channel for South Sudan’s oil through its vast oil pipelines. He points out that almost 75% of the South Sudan has oil resources which are dependently exported to China and other countries through north Sudan’s pipelines. He notes that the current economic war between the Sudan and Republic of South Sudan over oil deposit area has created dilemma in oil investing countries such as China as they tend to be neutral. However, the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s refusal to allow the South Sudan to use its oil pipeline to transport oil to other countries has changed the China’s oil investment policy. China has an embark on building a second pipeline that runs from South Sudan to Mombasa ports in Kenya through the collaboration of Kenya and South Sudan governments so as to enhance the transportation of oil (Shaoul, 1). Moreover, he points out that the April, 2012 President Salvar Kiir’s visit to China was an economic intervention from which China agreed to send its peace keeping African envoys to Khartoum and Juba to take the chair over peace negation processes.  

How to Resolve the Sudan Conflict

According to Tadess (11), the conflict between Sudan and Republic of South Sudan can be resolved if the international communities, through their diplomatic effort, exert pressures on the two warring sides to cease war activities and engage in serious negotiation talks. He points out that the prioritized agenda for such negotiations is for both governments to stop arming and using rebel forces in initiating war on the disputed areas as they find out long term solutions of addressing the post-referendum issues. Shaoul (1) notes that international communities should increase pressure on Sudan and South Sudan to stop using militia men for battlefield in struggle to gain control over Sudan’s oil rich areas, mineral sites, and water resource areas as these militia men can lead to immense humanitarian crisis thereby undermining the peace negotiation processes.

For instance, Davalos (1) notes that the sustenance of the Sudanese People’ Liberation Movement-North and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) by South Sudan and Sudan respectively led to the recent attack on refugee camps and the Bentiu town in the South Sudan. He argues that this not only undermined the peace negotiation processes, but also resulted in renewed conflict between the South and the North with the south gaining control over Heglig oils reserves thereby reducing the Sudan’s oil by over 100, 000 barrels per day.

Davalos (1) points out that the conflict in Sudan can be resolved if both the Sudan and the Republic of Sudan constitute domestic constitutional reforms that would help in the full implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement especially in addressing issues regarding land and resources distributions along their borders. For instance, Tadess (6) notes that constituting effective land tenure policies and practices that clearly define and identify community lands and resources will create confidence among the groups which will not fight back to repose the land as they are equally entitled to. He points out that this domestic land reform system together with restrained militia attack can help to resolve the border dispute especially in Abyei where land oil resources and religious difference are the main conflict contributing factors. 

Moreover, Davalos (1) notes that the United Nations Security Council should mobilize all the warring parties to the negotiation table to review the Joint Boarder Verification Monitoring Mechanism (JBVMM). This would not only effect border agreement between Sudan and South Sudan, but would also help to devise border monitoring unit that will ensure that all the agreed border resolutions are adhered to by all parties.


In conclusion, the write up has highlighted that the separation of Sudan was based on the conflict which arose between the religious differences. It has pointed out that there is need for the government in power to avoid imposing resolutions or policies such as Islamic laws that primarily undermine the human rights of other religious groups. Moreover, the paper has illustrated the need for international communities to offer security and food relief intervention as both oppressed parties fail to negotiate and fully implant the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It is also noted that there is a need to address the underlying post-referendum issues that touch on the oil reserves, minerals, water resources and boundary disputes among others to find long lasting solutions in Sudan. 

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