Peace Accord Reached
On Jan. 9, 2005, after three years of negotiations, a peace deal was reached between the southern rebels, led by John Garang of the SPLA, and the Khartoum government, ending Africa's longest-running civil war. Under the deal, roughly half of Sudan's oil wealth was given to the south, as well as nearly complete autonomy and the right to secede after six years. But just two weeks after Garang was sworn in as first vice president as part of the power-sharing agreement, he was killed in a helicopter crash during bad weather. Rioting erupted in Khartoum, killing nearly 100. Garang's deputy, Salva Kiir, was quickly sworn in as the new vice president, and both north and south vowed that the peace agreement would hold.
In July 2009, an international tribunal at The Hague redefined the border of Sudan's oil-rich Abyei region, giving the North rights to the lucrative Heglig oil field, and the South retained rights to other large oil fields in Abyei.
In April 2010 elections, Salva Kiir, head of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, was reelected president of the semi-autonomous South, taking 93% of the vote. He opted not to run for national president, choosing instead to remain the leader of southern Sudan — leaving no doubt that he supported independence.