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This paper documents the formation and development of the Fur Shura council as an example of a new form of urban based voluntary ethnic associations. It attempts to analyze the new phenomenon against the backdrop of staggering processes of state building in Sudan. The paper concludes that in the context of political competition for the resources of the state the educated elite from marginalised areas such as Darfur found themselves entangled in the process of investing on ethnic identification for reasons of political expediency. On the other hand non-democratic regimes found a better chance to outwit opposition forces by adopting the old colonial tactic of “divide-and-rule” by encouraging the retribalisation of educated elite in the peripheral regions.