August 1955: Southern Sudanese troops mutiny, and southern members of the country's Parliament demand consideration of a federal form of government to allow greater autonomy for southern Sudan.

December 1955: The Sudanese Parliament unanimously declares itself independent of Egypt and Britain, which ruled Sudan under a joint agreement.

February 1972: The Sudanese government signs an agreement with the southern rebels, granting regional autonomy for three southern provinces and a regional legislature known as the Southern Regional Assembly.

September 1983: President Jaafar Nimeiry proclaims Islamic law, although regional governments in the south make little effort to enforce the proclamation.

May 1983: The Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), led by Col. John Garang, is formed in southern Sudan to fight the Sudanese government for greater regional autonomy and freedom from Islamic law in a united Sudan.

June 1989: The elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi is overthrown in a coup led by Brig. Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir.

August 1991: Opponents of Colonel Garang's leadership of the SPLA form the so-called Nasir faction of the rebel army. The new group's leaders accuse Garang of dictatorial policies and raise the idea of an independent south.

September 1992: William Nyuon Bany escapes Garang-held territory and forms another SPLA faction.

February 1993: A third faction, called the Kerubino group, is formed after rebel leader Kerubino Kwanyin Bol and several others escape from a Garang prison in southern Sudan in September 1992. This faction has a significant following but no troops.

April 5, 1993: The three dissident rebel factions announce a coalition of their groups called SPLA United at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The coalition draws together a cross-section of former Garang officials and other southerners.

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