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Yemen's Houthi rebels kill 'several Sudanese soldiers' in Taiz attack

Thousands of Sudanese troops are fighting in Yemen [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 October, 2019

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Several Sudanese soldiers have been killed in a Houthi rebel attack on Taiz, the movement claimed on Monday.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels said they killed several Sudanese soldiers in a missile strike in the country’s third largest Taiz city on Monday.

The strike targeted a “gathering of Sudanese soldiers in Al-Waziya junction area of Taiz at midnight on Monday,” the rebels Al-Masirah channel reported.

“The attack successfully killed and injured a number of Sudanese soldiers,” the group said, without providing specific numbers.

The Saudi-led coalition, of which Sudan is a member, has yet to comment on the claims.

Sudanese opposition figures have called on their country's transitional government to bring back Sudanese soldiers fighting for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, including child soldiers and mercenaries, according to a report published last month.

Spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals Association, El Rashid Saeed urged the country's new government to work towards ending the war in Yemen and bring Sudanese troops back home.

"We do not want the war to continue in Yemen," said Saeed in a press conference. "We want the talks to go on according to the plan prepared by the United Nations.

"I think Sudan can play a role in this regard through giving an ultimatum to its allies in the Arab coalition, for the sake of the peaceful solution that will guarantee the withdrawal of our forces without harming the relations with other countries."

Thousands of soldiers

At any time in the past four and a half years, as many as 14,000 Sudanese militiamen were fighting in Yemen with local militia aligned with the Saudis, according to an Al Jazeera report. Many of these, the report adds, were children and mercenaries.

There are "between 8,000 and 14,000 Sudanese paramilitary forces are fighting in Yemen", Noha Aboueldahab, from Brookings Doha Centre, told Al Jazeera.

"Sudanese mercenaries, many of them children from Darfur, have been lured into fighting on the ground in Yemen in exchange for financial compensation." 

The decision to join the Saudi-led war against Houthis in Yemen was made by former dictator Omar al-Bashir, whose current trial revealed he received millions in illicit cash funds from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

In December, The New York Times reported that Riyadh offered impoverished Sudanese families up to $10,000 to send their children to fight in Yemen.

"Families know that the only way their lives will change is if their sons join the war and bring them back money," the New York Times quoted one Sudanese child soldier as saying.

The report said that children made up at least 20 percent - and sometimes 40 percent - of the Sudanese battalion in Yemen.

Many had been brought in from the Darfur region of the west of Sudan, where some 300,000 people were killed and 1.2 million displaced during years of conflict. Saudi Arabia denied the reports earlier this year.

But despite the preogressive calls from a new Sudan, analysts believe the move is yet to be imposed.

"It is unlikely that anything will happen regarding a possible withdrawal of Sudanese soldiers from the Yemen conflict considering the transitional government is civilian-led and the armed forces are included within the council that came as a result of the agreement between the Sudanese opposition and the military," Yemen expert Mohammed al-Jaberi told The New Arab.

"The final say lies with the council itself and not the government and considering the strong connection between Hamiditi and Saudi Arabia and the UAE, it is unlikely for Sudanese forces to withdraw," he added.

"This is another clear example of the differences between the true powers that exist - the civil versus military."

It is estimated that hundreds of Sudanese have been killed in fighting in Yemen, in a conflict that has affected ordinary civilians as well as those from the highest ranks, among whom was the brother Houthi rebel chief Abdelmalik al-Houthi.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab

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