|Biographical detail : ||Sudanese politician who strove to bring peace in his country
Ahmed al-Mirghani played an important role as Sudanese President (1986-89) in trying to end the conflict between the mainly Muslim north and the Christian and animist peoples of the south, a bitter dispute which had dogged the country virtually since independence from Britain in 1956.
He was appointed head of a five-member presidency council and his Democratic Unionist Party entered the administration. After months of difficult negotiations, in 1988 al-Mirghani signed what appeared to be an historic agreement with the Southern Peoples’ Liberation Movement to end the long-running civil war.
After the coup that brought al-Bashir to power, al-Mirghani went into exile mainly in Saudi Arabia and Egypt from where he led the opposition to al-Bashir’s repressive regime. Al-Mirghani returned, after a dozen years, to Khartoum in 2001 and was greeted by thousands of people on his arrival back to Sudan. He asserted to help to unite the opposition and to end the long-running civil war in the south. Momentum had already been building to such an end and a full peace settlement was agreed in 2005.
Ahmed al-Mirghani was born in Khartoum into one of the most prominent families in Sudan. His great-great-grandfather, Sayyid Muhammad Othman al-Mirghani al-Khatim had founded the Sufi sect of Khatmiyya which, at its peak, had followers across the region and as far afield as India.