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are a nation of people of Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...
in western Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...
Ouaddaï is one of the 22 regions of Chad and its capital is Abéché. It is composed by the former Ouaddaï Prefecture. Its main ethnic groups are the Arabs and the Maba. The economy is based on subsistence agriculture and breeding...
in eastern Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...
. They speak Masalit
Masalit is a Maban language spoken by the Masalit people in western Darfur. It has two sociolects: "heavy" Masalit, with a complicated agglutinative grammar, spoken by higher-ranking people and in the countryside, and "light", spoken particularly in the home and in the market, with a somewhat...
, a Nilo-Saharan language
The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages spoken by some 50 million people, mainly in the upper parts of the Chari and Nile rivers , including historic Nubia, north of where the two tributaries of Nile meet...
of the Maba group
The Maban languages are a small family of languages which have also been included in the proposed Nilo-Saharan family. Maban is spoken in Chad, the Central African Republic, Sudan , and South Sudan, and includes the following languages:...
. They numbered about 250,000 http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=MSA
Between 1884 and 1921 they established a state called Dar Masalit.
The Masalit are well-known for their Muslim piety.