A prominent political activist in Sudan has called for the withdrawal of his country’s soldiers currently fighting in Yemen. Rashid Saeed of the Sudan Professionals’ Association is a civilian member of Sudan’s ruling coalition and has asked the transitional government to bring the troops home. He also expressed a desire for a negotiated peace agreement in Yemen.
“We don’t need the war to continue in Yemen,” insisted Saeed. “We want the talks to go on according to the plans prepared by the UN.”
The decision to send thousands of Sudanese soldiers to join the Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Houthis in Yemen was made by ousted President Omar Al-Bashir who is currently facing corruption charges. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes and genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.
According to Noha Aboueldahab, a fellow of the Brookings Doha Centre, there are between 8,000 to 14,000 paramilitaries from Sudan, some of whom are reported to be child soldiers, recruited by the Saudis from Darfur, which is itself a war-torn and impoverished region. Recent reports claim that the coalition has been recruiting child soldiers in Yemen via human trafficking networks.
Hundreds of Sudanese fighters have been killed in the war, currently in its fifth year. The overall death toll is nearing 100,000 according to data collated by the US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED).