(UPDATE 15:30) On Thursday, three senior Sudanese officers and dozens of soldiers were killed during a battle in northern Yemen, in the desert of Medi. Dozens more soldiers were wounded.
The forces were led by battalion commander Colonel Abdelbagi. Approximately 100 Sudanese soldiers were wounded in the fighting that broke out in Medi desert.
The next day military sources said that among the Sudanese forces killed were two second battalion commanders, including Lt. Col. Ibrahim of El Hazem Brigade, and a financial affairs officer of the Sudanese Military Intelligence in Yemen named Tawfig Bashir Ahmed.
Yemeni military sources said that the Iran-backed Houthi rebels hit the Sudanese military convoy in an ambush in the northern province of Hajjah before dawn on Friday. Houthis reported the attack on their website saying dozens of Sudanese soldiers had been killed and armoured vehicles destroyed.
There has been no comment from the Sudan Armed Forces on the events in Yemen. Following the news, Sudan’s parliamentary members have demanded the withdrawal of Sudanese troops from the war zone.
The battle on Thursday is reportedly the heaviest one that Sudan has suffered since it has deployed troops in Yemen in 2015, to bolster the mostly Gulf Arab alliance fighting the Iran-allied Houthi movement. The coalition includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan.
In 2017, five Sudanese soldiers were killed when Yemeni forces backed by the coalition took control of a volcanic mountain on a road toward the Khalid bin al-Waleed military base, a key stronghold of the Houthis in southwestern Taiz province. That same year in June, 17 Sudanese soldiers were killed and dozens more wounded at Midi of Hajjah province, in north-west Yemen.
In September that year, Mohamed Hamdan Dagolo (known as ‘Hemeti’), commander of the Sudanese paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, admitted that about hundreds of Sudanese forces died in the Yemeni war since 2015.
Speaking to El Jareeda daily newspaper in Khartoum last year, Hamdan said: “We participated in Yemen war effectively, we captured many towns and we lost 412 soldiers including 14 officers.”
Rape of Yemeni woman
In the same week, the alleged rape of a Yemeni woman by a Sudanese mercenary fighter has led to widespread popular anger at the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led coalition fighting the war. Media quoted the victim as saying that the soldier raped her while she was collecting firewood in El Khoka. She was later forced to deny the incident. Reportedly, there has been no follow-up so far.