The Sudanese People

Sudan's population consists of mainly farmers and herders and is split into over 400 ethnic groups according to region and climate.   Due to centuries of intermarriage, most of the inhabitants are of mixed African and Arab ancestry.

Fur: The Fur occupies the volcanic regions and plains of western Sudan. They are Muslim and speak Arabic. Much of the conflict in Sudan centers on the region of Darfur (inhabited by the Fur), which has become the front for the battle over the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Dinka: The Dinka make up 12% of Sudan's population. They reside in swamplands and in the Nile basin of southern Sudan. The Dinka herd cattle in the dry season and plant grain from May to June. Unlike many of the other tribes, they practice animism and do not speak Arabic.

Nuer: Mainly herders, the Nuer prize cattle religiously as well as economically. The second largest ethnic group in Sudan, they have been at odds with the Dinka for centuries and the two groups have formed a tentative alliance while resisting the government militia.

Zaghawa: The Zaghawa are pastoral nomads living in Chad and western Sudan. Although the majority are Muslim themselves, they joined the Sudanese Liberation Army after the government failed to punish Arab nomads who murdered prominent Zaghawa chieftains.