Having gained independence from Britain in 1955 the Sudanese armed forces consisted of more than 5000 members; this was quickly expanded to deal with an ongoing counter insurgency in the South and West. Sudan, once the largest in Africa was effectively ruled in the north by Musli Arabs while the South was made up of Christian and Animist Africans. The Sudan military obtained its first armed vehicles from Britain in the form of Saladins and Ferret armoured cars. Further arms shipments were obtained from the Soviet Union, China and the United States leading to BTR-50s operating side by side with Type 62 mountain tanks and V-100 commandos. During the Cold War, Sudan was seen as a possible bulwark against Soviet expansion in neighbouring Ethiopia and the United States provided advanced equipment such as M60 tanks and F-5E fighter aircraft. With the end of the Cold War, Sudan underwent political change with the coming to power in a coup in 1989 Omar Al Bashir, it was during the 90s that Osama Bin Laden was allowed a safe haven by Khartoum. Sudans oil insured large scale purchases of Chinese armour such as the Type 85 Il, Type 59D and YW-531 APC’s to mention a few Side by side with Chinese tanks and an assembly plant in Khartoum, the South of the country gained independence in a referendum in 2011 ending the North’s war in the part of the country but not in Darfur in the west North Sudan continued an eclectic pattern of procurement obtaining Cobras BMP-1 based APC and BTR-80 conversions made in the Czech Republic, BTR-3 and T-72 AVs from Ukraine and Safir-74’s from Iran. Sudan maintains and repairs her mixed fleet of MBTs, IFVs and APCs at the Military Industry Corporation workshops in the centre of Khartoum and is now manufacturing a series of jeeps, APCs and truck based self-propelled guns.