Sudan vows to stay in Saudi alliance fighting in Yemen

(iStock)
(iStock)

Sudan vowed on Tuesday that it will remain in a Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen, after a deadly ambush reportedly killed dozens of its soldiers in the war-torn country last week.

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 Iran-backed Huthi 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'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.

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

The losses were reported to be the heaviest suffered by Sudanese troops in Yemen since they were deployed in the war-torn country.

The Huthis 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.

The Sudanese military has largely refrained from offering details of its operations within the coalition against the Shiite Huthis.

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 Huthis overran the city in 2014, sweeping southwards from their northern bastion.

Nearly 10 000 people have been killed since the coalition joined the Yemen war in 2015, triggering what the United Nations has called the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

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