Sudanese forces not withdrawing from Yemen's Hodeidah, spokesman says

Deputy head of ruling military council in Khartoum says Sudanese forces will stay despite power shift

In this file photo taken Saturday, March 21, 2015, members of a militia group loyal to Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, known as the Popular Committees, chew qat, Yemen's favorite drug, as they sit next to their tank, guarding a major intersection in Aden, Yemen.   The United Arab Emirates, one of the most powerful parties in Yemen’s war, has begun to draw down its forces in past weeks in 2019, leaving the Saudi-led coalition with a weakened ground presence and fewer tactical options. The withdrawal of several thousand troops comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, and as the Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels known as Houthis increase their attacks on Saudi Arabia.(AP Photo/Hamza Hendawi, File)

Sudanese forces fighting in Yemen as part of the Arab Coalition have not withdrawn from positions around the vital Red Sea port of Hodeidah, the spokesman for the joint forces in the city told The National.

Col Wathah Al Dubaish rejected the reports that Sudanese troops had withdrawn from the west coast of the country.

“I totally reject such fake news, the Sudanese forces are still playing a crucial role in the battle to restore the legitimacy in Yemen along with the coalition states,” he said. “They are still present along the western coast in Hodeidah and other areas in Yemen.

"What has been happening is a matter of redeployment for the Sudanese forces in some positions in Hodeidah, according to the new planes set by the new leadership for the joint forces fighting the Houthi rebels in Hodeidah," Col Al Dubaish told The National.

Sudan has contributed troops to the Arab coalition since it first intervened in 2015 to push the Houthi rebel back after they seized much of the country and forced the internationally recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi to flee the country.

On April 11 after 30 years in power, the Army forced Sudanese President Oman Al Bashir from office in the face of mass nationwide rallies.

The Rapid Support Forces, a state-backed militia that has deployed thousands of fighters to Yemen as part of the coalition efforts, is one of the leading elements of the current ruling military council.

The force’s commander, Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (known as Hemeti), is the council’s deputy leader, and his forces have been deployed across much of the capital of Khartoum since Mr Al Bashir was removed from power.

Gen Dagalo said in April that his fighters were still committed to the Arab coalition despite the change in national leadership.

"We will stick to our commitment with the Arab alliance and our troops will remain until the alliance achieves its goals," Gen Daglo told the state-run SUNA news agency in April.

Elsewhere in Yemen, coalition-backed forces in Al Dhlaea province of southern Yemen launched a major offensive against Houthi rebel-controlled areas the regions northeast area of Mureis on Wednesday.

Divisions from the Southern Joint Forces and popular resistance brigades in the Mureis area launched the attack, Cpt Majid Al Shouaibi, spokesman for the Southern Joint Forces, told The National.

The villages of Al Zila and Al-Kahrah have already been recaptured, the captain said, as have the Wiynan Mountains and Siwan valley. Forces are now targeting the strategically important Nasah mountain in northern Mureis area.

“The advances made by our forces, along with the popular resistance [brigades] in Mureis on Wednesday are crucial because the Houthi rebels lost strategic sites near to Nasah Mountain, and our forces knocked on the door of Damt city which is the main stronghold for the Houthi reinforcements in northern Mureis,” Cpt Al Shouaibi said.

The Southern Joint Forces also captured key sites on the Bab Ghalag front in northern Qatabah city during fierce confrontations on Wednesday, the spokesman said. Houthis reportedly lost a large number of weapons and dozens of fighters before they were forced to withdraw to Al Fakher area no the province’s north.

On the Al Azarik front in the western the province of Al Dhalea on the borders with Taez province, the Southern joint forces continued advancing, a military commander taking part in the military operations told The National.

“Our forces advanced on Wednesday taking control over Al Hajer area and the Red Mountain in Mawyah district southern Taez province.