The prime minister of the transitional government of Sudan, Abdallah Hamdok, announced on December 8, Sunday, that the country has withdrawn two-thirds of its forces from Yemen. According to him, 10,000 of the 15,000 Sudanese soldiers deployed in Yemen have come home.
The move further weakens the Saudi-led coalition which has invaded Yemen. This is the first time that there has been an official announcement on the actual number of Sudanese troops in Yemen.
Sudan joined the Saudi coalition during the presidency of Omar al-Bashir in 2015. The withdrawal of forces from Yemen was one of the major demands of the popular protests which began in December 2018 and successfully overthrew al-Bashir in April this year. A transitional government took power in September and prime minister Hamdok had announced his intention to recall Sudanese forces from Yemen last week.
The Sudanese forces in Yemen have been under attack from the Houthis who have released several videos of captured Sudanese soldiers. This prompted fresh demands for their withdrawal. According to Houthi sources, more than 4,000 Sudanese soldiers have been killed in Yemen so far.
Indicating the withdrawal of remaining forces Hamdok said, “We believe that the solution in Yemen is a political solution” Middle East Eye reported.
The war in Yemen began in 2015 when Saudi Arabia formed an alliance of several regional countries, including the UAE, Sudan and Egypt to support the Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi government which had fled from the capital Sana after Houthi forces captured it.
The chances of Sudanese withdrawal had increased after the UAE announced the withdrawal of its ground forces in September. This was followed by a brief round of internal fighting among the coalition forces and Houthi gains which prompted Saudi Arabia to start informal negotiations with them.
According to the UN, the war has caused the worst humanitarian crisis of the century, leading to the death of hundred of thousands and pushing millions to the verge of famine and starvation. Many more people have died or are on the verge of death in Yemen due to the shortage of medical and food supplies caused by the military blockade of the country by the Saudi-led coalition.