Ex-Sudanese president Nimeiry dead at 79

May 29, 2009 (ST)

The former Sudanese president Ga’afar Muhammad Nimeiry who was ousted in a popular uprising a quarter of a century passed away today according to news reports.

Nimeiry took power exactly 40 years ago in a military coup that ousted the government of Ismail al-Azhari.

His term witnessed sharp shifts in political alliances and numerous coup attempts which he crushed ruthlessly.

In 1972 Nimeiry signed the Addis Ababa Agreement with the South putting an end to the civil war till 1983 after he took a series of steps that violated the terms of the accord prompting a renewal of civil strife.

He was a strong ally of the West and one of the few Arab leaders to support Egypt’s peace agreement with Israel. It was revealed later that he allowed ferrying out the Ethiopian Jews through Sudan.

The increase in political tensions and cracking down on political opposition as well as worsening economic conditions prompted a bloodless coup by the army which decided not to crush the widespread demonstrations against the regime.

Nimeiry was in Cairo at the time and remained in exile there until 1999 when president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir permitted his return and afforded him immunity from judicial prosecution related to violations committed by his government.


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