General Country Information
The Republic of Sudan is currently the world’s most unstable country according to the 2007 “Failed States Index,” produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace. After Sudan gained independence in 1956 decades of civil war between the Arab Muslim North and the Christian African South followed. In 2005 a comprehensive peace agreement was signed, granting Southern Sudan autonomy for six years, to be followed by a referendum about independence. Meanwhile fighting broke out in the western region of Darfur in early 2003 where rebels seeking greater autonomy began an insurrection. Pro-government Arab militias are accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against non-Arab groups in the region. The current president is Omar al-Bashir who has been leading the country since a military coup in 1989.
Sudan population is estimated at 37 million in total. Arabic is the official language and Islam is the religion of the state, but the country has a large non-Arabic speaking and non-Muslim population, mainly in the south.
More general information is available at BBC Country Profile and at Wikipedia in both English and Arabic.
Official information can be found at the website of the Sudanese government in Arabic.