Founder and leader of the Sudanese rebel group Anya Nya. Sudanese Ambassador to the UN from 1990 to 1992.
Date of birth: 21 November 1931, Momokwe, Madiland, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Joseph Lagu was born in the village of Momokwe, in the north of Madiland, in southern Sudan. He is from the Madi ethnic group. He attended military college in Omdurman and was commissioned into the Sudanese Army in 1960.
First Sudanese Civil War
In June 1963 he joined the Southern Sudan Resistance Movement (SSRM) and created its military wing, the Anya Nya. The SSRM had been openly opposing the northern dominated Sudanese government since independence in 1956. The Anya Nya headed the fight against the Sudanese army, which became a full civil war (the First Sudanese Civil War) in the early 1960s. Amongst Lagu's followers was John Garang (who would later lead the rebellion in the Second Sudanese Civil War).
1972 Addis Ababa Agreement
Lagu and the Sudanese president, Jaafar Muhammad an-Numeiry, signed the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972, bringing to an end the First Sudanese Civil War -- the agreement granted Southern Sudan autonomy. Lagu rejoined the Sudanese army, as did many of his fellow rebel soldiers, with the rank of Major General and served for a further eight years.
In civilian life, Joseph Lagu entered politics, and joined the High Executive Council of the Southern Sudanese Autonomous Regional Assembly in 1978. In 1982 he was given the, mostly ceremonial, position of Second Vice President of the Republic of The Sudan.
In 1985 an-Numeiry's government was ousted by military coup, and Lagu fled to the UK. When the military government was replaced the following year by the elected government of Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani, Joseph Lagu was made a roving ambassador -- a position he kept when Omar al-Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir grabbed power in a subsequent military coup in 1989.
Between 1990 and 1992 Lagu served as the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN, after which he returned to his role of roving ambassador.
In 1998 Joseph Lagu retired from public life, ostensibly to write his memoirs.