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Sudan pledges to continue supporting Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

Military Transitional Council says Sudanese forces will remain in Yemen to support Saudi and Emirati forces
Soldiers with the Saudi-led coalition stand guard in the port city of Hodeida on 22 January 2019 (AFP)

Sudan's ruling transitional military council said the country's forces participating with the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen will remain there, Sudan news agency (SUNA) said.

The council's deputy head General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo said in a statement to SUNA: "We are adhering to our commitment to the coalition, and our forces will remain until the coalition fulfils its goals," Reuters news agency reported on Monday.

Sudan is part of a UAE- and Saudi-led military coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen. It has provided the largest number of foreign troops to the Saudi-led coalition. Approximately 14,000 Darfur militiamen have been fighting in Yemen in tandem with local militia.

Yemen infographic

These Sudanese fighters have been drawn principally from the Rapid Support Forces, a tribal paramilitary group aligned with the Sudanese government and previously known as the Janjaweed.

The Sudanese fighting with the Saudi coalition are often survivors of the Darfur conflict, and have been accused of incorporating children in their ranks.

Sudan’s statement expressing continued support for the Saudi-led coalition comes amid heated protests that have toppled Omar al-Bashir’s rule.

Sudan’s new leader, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who replaced Awad Ahmed ibn Auf one day after ibn Auf assumed the job, oversaw the deployment of Sudanese troops in Yemen and had previously served as the commander of the army's ground forces.

Ibn Auf had also called Sudan's participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen last year a "moral duty".

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015 to restore the Yemeni government, but the war has reached a military stalemate.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Yemen and an economic collapse has left about 16 million facing severe hunger.