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Sudan vows to stay in Saudi alliance fighting in Yemen despite losses

Sudan is part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 April, 2018

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Sudan's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour insisted his country would remain involved in Yemen at a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.
Sudan vowed to remain in a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, after a deadly ambush reportedly killed dozens of its soldiers in the war-torn country last week.

Sudan's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour insisted his country would remain involved in Yemen at a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. 

"The minister affirmed Sudan's position of continuing to be part of the coalition troops to bring back stability in Yemen," the foreign ministry said.

Khartoum has deployed hundreds of soldiers in Yemen since 2015 as part of the alliance battling on the side of the country's government against Houthi rebels.

On Friday it suffered one of its heaviest losses when dozens of Sudanese soldiers were killed by insurgents in an ambush, Yemeni military sources and rebels said.

Sudan has not officially confirmed or denied the deaths of its soldiers in the ambush, but the ministry said the three ambassadors who met Ghandour "offered their condolences to families of martyrs and hoped for a speedy recovery of those wounded in operations in Yemen in recent days".

The Houthi rebels hit a Sudanese military convoy in the northern province of Hajjah before dawn on Friday, according to military sources in Yemen.

The Houthis reported the attack on their Al-Masirah website, saying dozens of Sudanese soldiers had been killed and armoured vehicles destroyed.

Khartoum's decision to join the Saudi-led coalition was part of a major foreign policy shift after it broke its decades-old ties with Tehran but the military has largely refrained from offering details of its operations within the coalition.

In a rare announcement in April 2017 the army said that five of its troops had been killed while fighting for the coalition.

President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government was driven from Yemen's capital after the Houthis overran the city in 2014, sweeping southwards from their northern bastion.

More than 10,000 Yemenis have been killed and 53,000 wounded since the start of the coalition intervention in Yemen.

Civilian casualties from coalition airstrikes have drawn criticism from rights groups, and in October the United Nations placed the alliance on a "blacklist" for killing and maiming children.

The UN is making a fresh push for peace talks in Yemen, where the coalition acted to support the internationally-recognised government after the Houthis seized the capital.

Earlier this month, the UN asked donors for nearly $3 billion to help an estimated 13 million people who urgently need aid in war-ravaged Yemen.

"Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, calling the situation "catastrophic." 

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