There was ceremonial dancing and celebrations as a peace deal was signed for Sudan, ending Africa’s longest civil war
Twenty one years of conflict in the south of the country has killed an estimated two million people, mostly through famine and disease. In front of 12 African leaders and the US Secretary of State, the Sudanesegovernment and southern rebels signed an accord in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. Under the agreement the ruling National Congress party and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation movement will form an interim government. An overall ceasefire has been agreed and after six years the south can vote for secession. The war began in 1983, pitting the Islamic government based in Khartoum against the mainly Christian and animist south. It forced millions of people to flee their homes, many of whom now want to go back. The deal will not bring peace across the whole of Sudan – fighting continues in the western Darfur area. But it is being seen as a crucial step towards resolving that conflict, described as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.