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Sudan to continue military support to Saudi Arabia, denies backing Islamists

February 6 - 2017 KHARTOUM
President Omar Al Bashir addresses top officials of his ruling National Congress Party during a meeting in Khartoum in August 2015 (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)
President Omar Al Bashir addresses top officials of his ruling National Congress Party during a meeting in Khartoum in August 2015 (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)

Khartoum is currently preparing new troops to be transferred to Yemen in support of the Saudi military campaign against the Houthi rebels in the country. President Omar Al Bashir denied accusations that Sudan is backing and training Libyan and Egyptian Islamist groups.

In an interview with the Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV Channel, Al Bashir stated that “We in Sudan feel that the situation in Yemen is threatening to us.

“When the [Saudi operation] Decisive Storm began, we immediately participated by sending a number of fighter jets and Sudanese forces that are now present on the ground in Aden”.

According to the president, Washington has established a Shiite state in Iraq after Sadam Hussein was removed. “This made Iran to control four Arab capital cities, Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad, and Sanaa. [..] Iran has more targets,” he said.

In March 2015, Sudan joined Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen by sending aircraft. Not much later, Khartoum sent ground troops as well.

Since then El Riyadh pledged fresh investments in Sudan’s agricultural sector. According to Khartoum, the economic assistance is not linked to its support for the military campaign.

Libyan Islamists

Al Bashir strongly denied that his government has provided arms to Libyan Islamists after the fall of President Muammar El Gaddafi.

He said that Sudan recognises the Government of National Concord in Libya as the only legitimate government. “Any vacuum in Libya will affect the entire region” he said.

Libyan authorities have repeatedly accused Sudan of supporting Islamist insurgents by smuggling weapons and militant extremists into the country in recent years.

In July 2015, a Libyan official claimed that an average of 50 vehicles carrying extremist Muslim fighters and arms were daily crossing the Sudanese-Egyptian-Libyan border area near El Kufra. Fighters and weapons are also airlifted from Khartoum to Mitiga airport in Tripoli, he said. In September 2014, Libyan border guards intercepted a convoy of vehicles carrying Yemeni fighters into the country. In the same month, the authorities of El Kufra airport grounded a Sudanese military aircraft bound for Tripoli, that was reportedly laden with weapons.

Muslim Brotherhood

Al Bashir also denied that Khartoum is harbouring and training Egyptian elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, and in turn accused the Egyptian authorities of supporting  Sudanese opposition groups.

The London-based El Hayat reported in January this year that investigations by the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Egypt into the Islamist Hasam Movement urban insurgency group and its members revealed support from within Sudan, Qatar, and Turkey.


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