Educated at Gezira Elementary School, then sent to Intermediate School at Port Sudan from 1935 to 1939. He attended Gordon Memorial College from 1939 to 1942 and went straight to the Military Academy.
Commissioned on August 2, 1944, he was posted to the Fourth Motor Battalion with the British Eighth Army in the desert war against the Nazis in Egypt. He took part in the assault on Tobruk and Derna. Then he served with the Sudan Defence Force in Tripoli. He was posted to Asmara, Eritrea, in July 1945 and stayed there until 1947.
On his return to the Sudan he was posted to Western Command and trained as a cavalry officer at Nyala. When the first Arab-Isracli war began in May 1948 he was in England on an 18-month course in telecommunications at Catterick Camp, Yorkshire. He went back to Khartoum in December 1949 to Signal Corps headquarters, which was his base for the next 14 years. He served at Torit, 60 miles south of Juba, from February to July 1955, then returned to Khartoum in time to go with General Abboud on a delegation to India.
In 1956 he attended Arab League meetings as secretary to the Defence Minister for six months. In 1957 he was promoted captain and in 1959 he became commander of the Sudan Signal Corps with the rank of colonel. In 1964 he took a staff college course and in January 1966 he was appointed
commander of Northern Command at Shendi with the rank of brigadier. After six months he was also given temporary command of Southern Command and held the reins of Northern and Southern Command for 10 months before
returning to Shendi to his own com mand in May 1967. During the Six-Day Arab-Israeli war in June 1967 he was in America.
In November 1968 he was promoted director of the General Staff, an administrative post he held until April 1968, when he was flown to London for a throat operation. He was convalescing at University College Hospital, London then the Nimeri revolution took place on May 25, 1969. As a brigadier he was on the compulsory retirement list but soon afterwards President Nimeri sent a letter to him in London asking him to return and join the new government. He flew back to Khartoum in the first week of June 1969 to take up the Post of Minister of Defence —largely a rubber-stamp appointment since defence matters were decided by the Revolutionary Command Council.
In the October 1969 reshuffle he became Minister of National Guidance, "dtich gave him the chance to reassert himself as a man of intellect and Judgment. His portfolio was transformed into Information and Culture two years later. When he is not traveled to explain Sudanese policy he stands in at home as acting Foreign Minister. He visited China in 1970 and has paid several visits to Britain and the United States. In February 1973 he spent a week in London fixing the arrangements for President Nimeri’s first visit outside Africa since the revolution.
A bulky, thick-set man with a trim moustache, he is a very tolerant person, a man of immense humanity who uses the British style of talking about “chaps”. Intelligent and flexible in his attitudes, he smoothed the way for restoring diplomatic relations with the United States of America and with Iraq. Strongly anti-Communist he is opposed to all “imported ideologies”.