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A Brief History: Sudan and Somalia

Eve Donegan, Sales & Marketing Assistant

Since Africa’s past and present can be complicated, we thought it would help to have a quick overview of some of the groups and political figures in Sudan and Somalia . We have selected some key topics that Gérard Prunier often referenced in Notes from Africa, and have provided a quick rundown of what they are.

–  Justice and Equality Movement (JEM): JEM is a rebel group in Sudan that is involved in the Darfur conflict. Like other rebel groups, they strongly oppose the Sudanese government which is run by Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir. JEM is under the leadership of Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir.

–  Khalil Ibrahim al-Wazir: Khalil Ibrahim is from the Kobe branch of the Zaghawa ethnic group. He started and currently leads JEM. Ibrahim has claimed credit for starting a government revolt in regard to the Darfur conflict.

–  International Criminal Court (ICC): The ICC is an independent institution, although they maintain close ties with the United Nations. They were established to control perpetrators of serious international crimes, such as genocide and war-related crimes.

–  President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir: Sudan’s leader, President al-Bashir, has been in power since 1989. This year Sudan will have their first democratic election in which current Vice President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, will challenge al-Bashir’s presidency. Mayardit is also the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) .

–  African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM): AMISOM works in Somalia to stabilize the country as a whole. Their mission is to, “…create a safe and secure environment in preparation for the transition to the UN.”

–  Transitional Federal Government (TFG): The TFG was formed in 2004 and is one of several attempts to create a stable government in Somalia. The TFG is hoping to establish a democracy in Somalia with the planned democratic elections coming up this year.

–  President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed: Sheikh Sharif became president after Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed resigned in December of 2008. He has been called a “moderate” leader, and was the chairman of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).

–  Union of Islamic Courts (UIC): After winning a battle for Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, the UIC controlled most of southern Somalia for six months. The group was made up of local Islamic courts that were created by businessmen to catch and punish their enemies.

Prunier brings these people, groups, history, and conflicts to life in his weekly blog. Keep reading on Tuesdays to find more Notes from Africa.

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