Foreign fighting 

Libya, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Saudi Arabia: Former Sudanese mercenaries testify

By Quentin Müller   

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Posted on February 18, 2022 06:47

A Houthi fighter in March 2021 in Sanaa.
A Houthi fighter in March 2021 in Sanaa. Hani Mohammed/AP/SIPA

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have hired hundreds of Sudanese fighters to fight in Libya and Yemen. Deceived or simply driven by poverty, they have been caught up in foreign conflicts.

“I used to be a policeman, but I was disgusted by the [force]. There was corruption at all levels, shopkeepers were racketeering, […] I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t me, so I resigned in 2018. I bought a tuk-tuk and was a driver for a while.

“One day, a friend of mine told me about a job opportunity as a security guard in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. They were looking for men with military or law enforcement experience,” says 35-year-old Abdallah, who is sitting on one of the narrow beds in the family room.

A light breeze lifts the burgundy curtain in the darkroom. His children watch him from the doorway. “I had the perfect profile. Everyone in Sudan knows that these countries offer attractive salaries, so I applied.

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