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Ibrahim Abboud

military leader of Sudan

Ibrahim Abboud

Ibrahim Abboud was born in the village of Suakin on October 26, 1900. He was educated at the Gordon School of Engineering in Khartoum and the British-run Military College in Khartoum, graduating from the latter in 1918; he also took some military courses in Great Britain. He served with distinction in the Eritrean and Ethiopian campaigns during World War II, as well as in Libya, became Deputy Commander of the Sudanese Army in 1954, became Commander-in-Chief of the Army in 1956, and was promoted to the rank of full General in 1957.

As Commander of the Sudanese Army, General Abboud did his best to stay away from politics while first Ismail al-Azhari and then Abdullah Khalil tried to create a politically and economically stable Sudan. Both men failed miserably, however, and the country was in the midst of great political and economic turmoil when, on November 17, 1958, General Abboud ousted Khalil in a bloodless coup and took control of the government. Abboud promised the Sudanese people that the army's only aim was to restore stability and that it would return power to a civilian government as soon as that had been accomplished.

Abboud successfully dealt with most of Sudan's economic problems and greatly improved the country's relations with its neighbors, especially, Egypt. Those successes led U.S. President John F. Kennedy to praise Abboud during a White House visit in 1961 for setting a good example by living in peace with his neighbors.They were, however, more than offset by Abboud's inability to achieve political stability. Northern and Southern Sudanese had had greatly different political views prior to Abboud taking power, and those views remained just as different after. By 1964 the country was on the verge of all-out civil war, and in an attempt to restore order Abboud relinquished control to a provisional civilian government on November 15, 1964.

Abboud retired to Britain for several years before returning to the Sudan. He died in Khartoum on September 8, 1983.


New York Times

See Also

World War II
Abdullah Khalil
John F. Kennedy

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The Robinson Library >> Sudan

This page was last updated on 01/01/2019.