There have been celebrations on the streets of Sudan to mark the end of Africa’s longest-running civil war. A peace deal was completed after two decades of fighting that has left an estimated two million people dead. In southern Sudan, rebels have been fighting the government since 1983 when Khartoum tried to impose Islamic Sharia law on the entire country, including in those areas where most people are not Muslim.
Under the accord, signed in Kenya, southerners will have the chance to vote on independence after a six-year interim period. The south will also receive half of Sudan’s oil revenues, which mainly come from southern fields. The deal agreed by Sudan’s government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement does not end a separate conflict in the western Darfur region of Africa’s largest nation, where almost two years of fighting have created with the United Nations calls one of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. There are hopes, however, that this weekend’s deal could pave the way for peace there.