President Bashir: Sudan will 'continue to fight' in Saudi-led Yemen war

President Bashir: Sudan will 'continue to fight' in Saudi-led Yemen war
President Omar al-Bashir said Sudan will continue to support the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen amid growing calls to withdraw.
2 min read
24 May, 2018
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir claims Sudan is 'playing its Arab role' in Yemen [AFP]

Sudan is committed to supporting the Saudi-led war in Yemen, its President Omar al-Bashir said on Wednesday, amid growing calls for Khartoum to withdraw its forces from the war that is locked in stalemate.

At a meeting with Saudi Arabia's assistant Minister of Defence Mohammed Abdullah al-Aish, Bashir asserted that economic hardship will not discourage Khartoum from "playing its Arab role in restoring legitimacy in Yemen, given that Sudan's declared principle is to defend the land of the two holy mosques", according to state news agency SUNA.

These comments come weeks after Sudan's Defence Minister Ali Salem told parliament that Khartoum was assessing its participation in the Yemen war, following a Houthi rebel ambush that reportedly killed dozens of soldiers.

"These days we are doing a study and an assessment of our troops' participation in Yemen," he told reporters at the time.

Sudan is supporting the Saudi-led coalition with 3,000 soldiers on the ground in Yemen and several fighter jets.

The ambush of Sudanese troops by Houthi rebels in northern Yemen last April, was claimed by the insurgents on their al-Masirah website.

The losses are reported to be some of the heaviest suffered by Sudan since its troops were deployed.

Khartoum has neither confirmed nor denied the attack.

Photographs posted to social media allegedly of soldiers killed in the ambush sparked calls for a withdrawal.

Several opposition leaders and analysts have questioned Bashir's decision to join the Saudi-led coalition.

Bashir, who came to power in an Islamist-backed coup in 1989, has said the move to join the Saudi-led coalition was "ideological".

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 on behalf of the internationally-recognised government to roll back the Iran-allied Houthis, who had seized control of much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

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