Sudan sends ground troops to Yemen
Hundreds of Sudanese troops arrived in Yemen's southern port city of Aden on Saturday, the first batch of an expected 10,000 reinforcements for the Saudi-led coalition, security officials said.
The troops' mission is to secure Aden, which has seen an uptick in drive-by shootings of pro-government troop leaders and officials as extremists became more entrenched in the city in recent weeks, the pro-government security officials said.
Aden, a strategic port and shipping hub, became the seat of the Yemeni government earlier this year after the Houthis, a clan from northern Yemen which follows the Zaydi branch of Shia Islam, seized the capital Sanaa and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to the south.
On Saturday, Yemen's Saudi-backed government said it was studying an invitation from the United Nations to attend talks aimed at ending the war
|At least 5,400 people have been killed in the fighting in Yemen.|
"The Yemeni government confirms that we're always ready for and committed to peace," spokesman Rajeh Badi told Reuters from the Saudi capital Riyadh.
"We value the role of the United Nations and thank its special envoy to Yemen, who has exerted great efforts toward achieving a peaceful resolution," he said, adding that his government would respond to the call within 48 hours.
The United Nations could not immediately be reached for comment but its deputy secretary general, Jan Eliasson, said on Thursday he hoped negotiations to end the war could start by the end of October, despite "deep mistrust".
At least 5,400 people have been killed in the fighting in the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula, and the United Nations says the humanitarian situation, exacerbated by a Saudi blockade of Yemen's ports, is "critical".
Previous UN sponsored peace talks faltered in June after President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government demanded that the Houthis pull out of cities captured since last September as a precondition for a ceasefire.
Meanwhile in the massive desert province of Jawf, Saudi airstrikes killed 13 Houthis, neutral security officials there said. The strikes are part of a plan to seize the northern province in order to advance on the Houthi heartland of Sadaa, pro-government officials said.
Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab military intervention since March to try to restore Hadi's government, now based in Aden, and fend off what it sees as creeping Iranian influence.
All officials and witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to brief reporters or fear reprisals.