Before 1985 the Addis Ababa Agreement had ended.
The Addis Ababa Accords were guaranteed in the Constitution of Sudan. The violation of this agreement by Addis Ababa led to the second civil war.
Prior to this a number of mutinies by former Anyanya took place in 1974, 1975, and February 1976, the March 1975 mutiny at Akobo seeing 200 soldiers killed, 150 soldiers executed, and 48 more who were imprisoned for up to 15 years.
The first violations occurred when President Jaafar Nimeiry tried to take control of oil fields straddling the north–south border.
Oil had been discovered in Bentiu in 1978, in southern Kurdufan and Upper Blue Nile in 1979, the Unity oilfields in 1980 and Adar oilfields in 1981, and in Heglig in 1982.
Access to the oil fields meant massive economic benefit to whoever controlled them.
The Islamic fundamentalists in the north weren’t happy with the Addis Ababa Agreement, which gave relative self-government to the non-Islamic majority Southern Sudan Independent Region.
The fundamentalists continued to grow in power, and in 1983 President Nimeiry declared the whole Sudan as an Islamic state, dismissing the Southern Sudan independent Region.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) was founded in 1983 as a Rebellion group, to reestablish the independent Southern Sudan by fighting against their central government.
While based in Southern Sudan, (SPLA) identified itself as a movement for all Sudanese citizens who were feeling inferior, and it was led by John Garang.
Initially, the SPLA campaigned for a United Sudan, criticizing the central government for policies that were leading to national “diminishing”.
September 1985, saw the end of the state of emergency and the dismantling of the emergency courts was proclaimed but soon emerged a new judiciary act, which continued many of the practices of the emergency courts.
Despite Nimeiry’s public assurances that the rights of non-Muslims would be respected, southerners and other non-Muslims remained very suspicious.
On 6th April, 1985, the senior military officers led by Gen. Abdul Rahman Suwar ad-Dahhab mounted a coup.
Among the first acts of the new government was to suspend the 1983 constitution, cancel the decree declaring Sudan’s intent to become an Islamic state, and dissolve Nimeiry’s Sudan Socialist Union.
However, the laws were not suspended.
A 15-member changed military council was named, chaired by Gen. Suwar ad-Dahhab, in 1985.
In a council with an informal conference of political parties, unions, and professional organizations—known as the “Gathering”—the military council appointed an interim civilian cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Dr. Al-Jazuli Daf’allah.
Elections were held in April 1986, and the changed military council turned over power to the civilian government as promised.
The government was headed by Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi of the Umma Party which consisted of a coalition of the Umma Party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) (formerly the NUP-National Unionist Party), the National Islamic Front (NIF) of Hassan al-Turabi, and several southern region parties.
This coalition dissolved and reformed several times over the next few years, with Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and his Umma Party always leading
In May 1986, the Sadiq al-Mahdi government’s temporary union began peace negotiations with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) led by Col. John Garang.
In that year, the SPLA and a number of Sudanese political parties met in Ethiopia and agreed to the “Koka Dam” declaration which abolished the Islamic Sharia law.
In 1988, the SPLA and the DUP agreed on a peace plan calling for the abolition of military pacts with Egypt and Libya.
However, the second civil war was very intense, with many casualties and the national economy continued to worsen.
The riots followed when the prices of goods increased.
When Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi refused to accept a peace plan reached by DUP and the SPLA in November 1988, the DUP left the government.
The new government consisted mainly of the Umma Party and the fundamentalist National Islamic Front (NIF).
In February 1989, the army presented Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi with an ultimatum: he could move toward peace or be removed. He then accepted the peace plan.
A constitutional conference was later planned for September 1989.
On 30th June, 1989, however, military officers under the then Col. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, with NIF instigation and support, replaced the Sadiq al-Mahdi government with the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation (RCC). As General al-Bashir became: president; chief of state; prime minister; and chief of the armed forces.
The RCC al-Bashir military government banned trade unions, political parties, and other “non-religious” institutions. About 78,000 members of the army, police, and civil administration were evacuated.
In March 1991, a new punishable code, the Criminal Act of 1991, instituted harsh punishments nationwide, including amputations and stoning.
The 1991 act provided for a possible future application of Islamic Shari’a law in the south although they were initially exempted.
In 1993, The Public Order Police was introduced to enforce Shari’a law, people were to be arrested, and treated under Shari’a penalties, these included southerners and other non-Muslims living in the north.
The SPLA was in control of large areas of Equatoria, Bahr al Ghazal, and Upper Nile provinces and also operated in the southern portions of Darfur, Kordofan, and Blue Nile provinces and the government controlled Juba, Wau, and Malakal. An informal cease-fire in May broke down in October of 1989.
The People’s Defense Forces, (PDF) were used to attack and raid villages in the South and the Nuba Mountains.
Even though they were originally initiated to just defend civilian communities, they often became brutal gangs which targeted civilians of other ethnicities. The government and rebel groups exploited these tensions and self-defense groups, using them to destabilize their enemies.
Garang who was the leader of SPLA became unpopular for his authoritarian leadership style, and ordered the torture and execution of several dissenting SPLA commanders. Over time, a growing number of SPLA members became cautious of his rule, and began to plot against him.
The Sadiq al-Mahdi government in March 1989 agreed with the United Nations and donor nations planned “Operation Lifeline Sudan” to send food to the country.
The SPLA Sudan faced a 2-year drought and food shortage across the entire country because of their revolts and massive killings.
In August 1991, the rebels led opponents of Garang’s leadership, most importantly Riek Machar and Lam Akol, to try a coup against him. It failed, and the rebels separated to form their own SPLA group, the SPLA-Nasir.
On 15th November 1991, Machar’s SPLA-Nasir with the Nuer White Army carried out the Bor massacre, killing a total of 2,000 Dinka civilians.
In the September of 1992, William Nyuon Bany formed a second rebel group and in February 1993, Kerubino Kwanyin Bol formed a third rebel group too. On 5 April 1993, the three rebel groups proclaimed a union of their groups called SPLA United at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
From 1990 to 1991, the Sudanese government supported Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War. This changed American attitudes toward the country. The US then began trials to “isolate” Sudan referring to it as a wild state.
Since 1993, the leaders of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya have pursued a peace initiative for Sudan under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), but results were mixed. The IGAD initiative promulgated the 1994 Declaration of Principles (DOP) whose aim was to identify the important elements to comprehend a peace settlement.
The Sudanese Government did not sign the DOP until 1997 after major battlefield losses to the SPLA.
In 1999, Egypt and Libya initiated the Egypt-Libya Initiative (ELI). By this time the peace process of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) had reached a stalemate. ELI’s main purpose was to bring members of the non-Southern opposition onboard in the talks. However, as ELI avoided issues, such as secession, it lacked support from the SPLA, but the NDA leadership accepted it. By 2001, ELI wasn’t able to bring about any agreement between the parties.
In September 2001, former U.S. Senator John Danforth was signed Presidential Envoy for Peace in the Sudan. His role was to explore the prospects that could end the civil war, and help reduce the suffering of the Sudanese people from war related effects.
The US government’s Sudan Peace Act of October 2002 accused Sudan of a genocide for killing more than 2 million civilians in the south during the civil war since 1983.
Peace talks between the southern rebels and the government made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed on the 9th January 2005 in Nairobi. The terms of the peace treaty were:
The south had autonomy for six years, followed by a referendum on independence.
Both sides of the conflict would have merged portions of their armed forces into a 39,000-strong force after six years equally between the government and SPLA during the six-year autonomy period.
Jobs were split according to varying ratios (central administration: 70 to 30, Abyei/Blue Nile State/Nuba Mountains: 55 to 45, both in favour of the government).
The status of three central and eastern provinces was a point of contention in the negotiations.
According to the SPLA, about 2 million people had died in southern Sudan alone due to the war and it was termed as a civil war.
The 2005 agreement required that child soldiers be demobilized and sent home. The SPLA claimed to have let go 16,000 of its child soldiers between 2001 and 2004. However, international observers (UN and Global Report 2004) have found demobilized children have often been re-recruited by the SPLA. As of 2004, there were between 2,500 and 5,000 children serving in the SPLA. Rebels had promised to demobilize all children by the end of 2010. Their aim was achieved.
The Nuer White Army, a minor participant in the war in the Greater Upper Nile region, consisted largely of armed Nuer youths, but it was principled and self-organized and often operated autonomously of both elders’ authority and the suggestions of the major groups.