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M. W. Daly

, Sudanese military commander, was born ʿUthman ibn Abi Bakr Diqna in the eastern Sudan, probably at Suakin, into a merchant family of Kurdish or Turkish descent, and a Hadandua Bija mother. In 1877 he was caught slave trading between the Sudan and Arabia, imprisoned, and financially ruined; other accounts tell of government forces plundering him during a trading foray to Darfur. While ʿUthman’s enmity for the Egyptians (and British) has been ascribed to personal vendetta, his lifelong loyalty to the Mahdiyya remains unquestioned.

ʿUthman joined the Mahdist revolution against Turco Egyptian rule sometime before the fall of El Obeid in 1883 when the Mahdi commissioned him to raise the tribes of his native region As an adept of the Majdhubiyya order of sufis ʿUthman exploited the rival Khatmiyya order s association with the Egyptian regime and crystallized local grievances in favor of the Mahdist cause Despite early defeats by Egyptian ...