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Senegal To Send 2100 Soldiers To Fight In Yemen
The Senegalese government has pledged to send a detachment of 2,100 soldiers to help in the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
This promise was made by the Senegalese Foreign Minister, Mankeur Ndiaye, while addressing the Parliament in his country.
Ndiaye told the lawmakers that the coalition is aimed at protecting and securing the holy sites of Islam, Medina and Mecca.
Senegalese President, Macky Sall, is believed to have discussed the military assistance when he visited Saudi Arabia last month. Just like Saudi Arabia, Senegal’s population is made up of a Sunni majority.
It is the first Sub-saharan country to get involved in the multinational alliance against the rebels.
Senegal’s decision has, however, been criticized by opposition politicians with some saying that the reasons given for the deployment were not genuine.
Iranian media has also criticized the move.
Iranian news agency, Fars, alleged that Senegal’s support was driven simply by financial gains it hopes to get from the Saudis.
It would be recalled that Senegal deployed soldiers to Saudi Arabia in 1990 as part of an international coalition to free Kuwait after Iraq invaded the country. Senegal has also deployed around 25,000 soldiers in more than 20 peacekeeping operations across the globe.
The Saudi air strikes against the Shiite Houthi rebels began last month in earnest.
The coalition which enjoys the support of the Americans has eight other states participating. Their joint effort is aimed at restoring Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power.
Saudi Arabia declared a ceasefire towards the end of last month but the coalition has continued to prevent the rebels from operating inside Yemen.