Sudanese mountain troops ‘to help liberate Ibb and Taez’ in Yemen
ADEN // Sudanese troops deployed to Yemen are specialists in combat on mountain terrain and will be used to help liberate Ibb and Taez, both mountainous provinces, a Yemeni army official has said.
Yemeni Brigadier Sameer Al Haj said he expected more Sudanese soldiers to arrive in Aden in the coming days, to join the 950 already deployed.
A first batch of Sudanese troops arrived at the city’s port on Saturday, while another arrived on Monday. Sudan is part of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that is working to restore the government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi in Yemen. The coalition’s ground operation is being led by Emirati and Saudi troops.
Brig Al Haj also confirmed previous remarks by the director of Aden’s security office, Mohammed Mosaed, who told The National that Sudanese forces would not be taking part in operations in Aden.
The popular resistance in Taez, which has become the focalpoint of the conflict against the Houthis, said they welcomed the news that they would be reinforced by Sudanese soldiers.
“We believe that the liberation of Taez is [only] a question of time and we want mountainous fighters to come to Taez as [the terrain] is not like Aden’s – Taez needs fighters who can fight in mountains,” said Moa’ath Al Yaseri, a leading figure in the Taez resistance.
He said the resistance was coordinating its operations with coalition forces, and confirmed that his fighters were working according to coalition plans.
At least 22 civilians were killed and several others wounded on Wednesday when mortars and rockets allegedly fired by the Houthi rebels crashed into Taez city.
The Katyusha rockets hit areas in the centre of the city that is under siege by the Houthis and allied forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a military official said. Witnesses said shells landed in residential areas.
The official said the rockets were “fired by Houthis and Saleh forces”. It came as Saudi-led warplanes struck Houthi positions and clashes raged on the outskirts of the city.
Taez city remains in the hands of forces loyal to Mr Hadi’s government, though others parts of the province have been taken over by the rebels.
Coalition forces and loyalist fighters have recaptured several parts of the province from the rebels, including areas leading to the coastline surrounding the strategic Bab Al Mandeb strait and the city of Dhubab. They are now advancing towards Mokha, a city further up the coast from Dhubab that is held by the Houthis.
Meanwhile in Aden, Yemenis were expected to hold a silent sit-in on Thursday to protest the killing on Saturday of Emirati serviceman, Captain Hadif Humaid Al Shamsi, according to the UAE’s state news agency, Wam.
The #ThankYouUAE campaign called on all residents of the city to take part in the rally to show their support for the UAE and the coalition.
Around 4,500 civilians have been killed in the Yemeni conflict since March when the coalition launched air strikes targeting the rebels.
* With additional reporting by Agence France-Presse and Associated Press
Updated: October 21, 2015 04:00 AM