Four Sudanese soldiers killed in Yemen attack

Four Sudanese soldiers were killed and 21 were wounded in an attack in Yemen on Sunday, according to sources in Sudan.

The return of the bodies of Sudanese soldiers who were killed in Yemen in 2017 (file photo)

Four Sudanese soldiers were killed and 21 were wounded in an attack in Yemen on Sunday, according to sources in Sudan.

The bodies of the four soldiers were taken to Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. It is unknown whether that is the home area of the soldiers. According to sources, the Sudanese forces participating in the war in Yemen were subjected to heavy shelling by ballistic missiles.

The sources said that some of the wounded were taken to hospitals belonging to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and other wounded were transferred to hospitals in the United Arab Emirates.

Qods News Agency in Yemen cited military sources that reported that the attack took place in Nihm district in Yemen's west coast.

The presence of Sudanese forces in Yemen continues while in May, Sudan's then Minister of Defence, General Ahmed Ibn Auf, told the Sudanese Parliament that the government was reconsidering its membership in the Saudi-led alliance in the war in Yemen. Financial problems forced Khartoum to rethink its military spending.

Days later the Government of Saudi Arabia discussed a potential oil agreement with Sudan, coming down to about 1.8 million tonnes of oil a year for Sudan, for the next five years.

Responding to the discussion at the time, Dr Hasan Bashir, Professor of Economics at the University of El Nilein, told Radio Dabanga that the financial impact of Sudan’s participation in the Yemeni war since 2015 is not clear. The details of the operation are still confidential, he said. He also pointed to the weak contribution of the Gulf countries in the alliance, in terms of investments.

The Western-backed alliance further includes the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Senegal.

3,000 troops

Sudan has sent at least 3,000 ground troops since the start of its cooperation in the mostly Gulf Arab alliance fighting the Iran-allied Houthi movement in 2015. Opposition against Sudan’s involvement in the Yemeni war has grown, not only because of the expenses but also because of the death of dozens of Sudanese troops in the battles.

On 10 April, 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.

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.

Air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition in the war in Yemen have caused heavy civilian casualties and some may amount to war crimes, UN human rights experts said in August.