• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > World

450 Colombian Mercenaries Sent by UAE to Fight Houthis in Yemen

  • Some 450 Colombian former soldiers have been deployed to the front line of the war on Yemen.

    Some 450 Colombian former soldiers have been deployed to the front line of the war on Yemen. | Photo: AFP

Published 26 November 2015

Some 1,800 Latin American former soldiers are being trained somewhere in the desert of United Arab Emirates as part of an operation set up by Blackwater Worldwide.

The United Arab Emirates has deployed about 450 Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight with the Saudi-led coalition that is attempting to put under control the Houthis, according to a four-page New York Times report published late Wednesday.

“The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict, adding a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran,” the influential U.S. daily said.

ANALYSIS: Why Saudi Arabia is Bombing Yemen

The report reveals there are 450 Latin American troops in Yemen already, and that among them there are mercenaries from Panama, El Salvador and Chile.

The Saudi-led coalition – which includes the U.S. – began attacks on Yemen on March 26 with the objective of attacking the Houthi rebels who ousted the Yemeni government from capital Sanaa.

ANALYSIS: Yemen Explained

In September 2014, the Houthis descended from their stronghold up in the northern mountain of Saada and took control of Sanaa, forcing President Hadi into exile in Saudi Arabia.

The NYT said this was the first combat deployment of a foreign army to Yemen, adding that the UAE has been “quietly” training mercenaries over the past five years in the desert as part of a program that in the past was managed by a private company linked to the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, Erik Prince, a former Navy Seal who then decided to train mercenaries for proxy wars around the globe.

A number of Blackwater mercenaries, who are now known to operate unethically, were sentenced earlier this year to lengthy prison terms for their involvement in the Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, in 2007, when 17 unarmed locals were killed and 20 more injured.

teleSUR reported Oct. 27 that the Saudi-led coalition had hired 800 former Colombian soldiers to fight as mercenaries in Yemen.

The Colombian fighters are expected to “take up frontline positions” in the souther port city of Aden, which is currently the stage of an intense battle between coalition forces and rival militant factions separately linked to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State group.

OPINION: Yemen in the Crosshairs

​According to El Tiempo of Colombia, 100 Colombian soldiers of fortune had arrived in Yemen in October, and that more of them were to follow shortly.

Some human rights organizations have suggested that the fomer Colombian soldiers are linked to the death of about 3,000 innocent civilians in their country, that they falsely accused of belonging to the FARC in order to collect a bonus being offered by the Colombian government.

Colombia Reports said the Colombian mercenaries were being paid about US$1,000 more a week than they would receive at home. They are supposedly on a three-month front-line services contract.

According to the New York Times, the UAE has a history of recruiting soldiers from Colombia. In 2013 it was revealed that top Colombian soldiers had joined a U.S.-led mercenary army in the UAE under the command of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

“Mercenaries are an attractive option for rich countries who wish to wage war yet whose citizens may not want to fight,” said Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and author of “The Modern Mercenary.”

The NYT said that the Colombian troops in Yemen, who were selected from among 1,800 Latin American soldiers training at an Emirati military base, were notified of their deployment in October. The daily added that those that remain the training camp are now being taught how to use grenade launchers and armored vehicles that Emirati troops are currently operating in Yemen.

The newspaper added that UAE officials prefer Colombian troops over other Latin American fighters because of their tested battle abilities against the rebels in their country throughout decades.

The precise mission of the Colombians in Yemen is yet unclear, NYT added.

WATCH: Western Backing of Extremists Fuel Instability in the Arab World

Post with no comments.