Colombian hirelings are all set to enter the fighting. They are paid by one of the Saudi-led coalition members – most likely, by Saudi Arabia itself or the United Arab States – recent reports in South American media claim.
After Bahrainis, Saudis, Qataris, Emiratis etc, reports of more mercenaries from Colombia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Mauritania coming to #Yemen.— Tony Toh (@tonytohcy) October 23, 2015
According to a Colombian daily El Tiempo report, some 100 Colombians arrived in the country in early October with more soldiers to follow.
Article profiling the 800 former Colombian soldiers-turned-UAE mercenaries fighting alongside Saudi forces in Yemen: https://t.co/L2KHQG7iro— Lloyd Belton (@LatAm_Risk) October 27, 2015
The draw is a good salary first of all, but comfortable warfare conditions and modern equipment have also dragged many former military members from Colombia, where they had been enduring decades-long heavy fighting with the FARC armed rebel group, which announced a ceasefire with the government this year.
“Despite the heat [in Yemen], it is not the same fight [as in Colombia], because there is unrestricted air support, equipment, and new weapons,” a retired Colombian special forces commander told El Tiempo. “And there is the certainty that if they (the soldiers) do not return, the future of their families is secured.
“We are called mercenaries, traitors, cowards and opportunists. We are nothing like that,” he declared. “We are men who made a decision in response to the lack of [financial] guarantees [at home].”
Moreover, for serving in Yemen, Colombians have been reportedly promised citizenship in wealthy United Arab States, specifically South Americans being paid directly by the UAE. However, TeleSUR reported that it’s Saudi Arabia which has contracted the hirelings.
Colombia mercenaries to protect Mecca also.. how absurdity of the Saudi regime!!? pic.twitter.com/17xGcAtPd6— Algon (@s_algo_n_aid) October 26, 2015
One of the possible reasons for recruiting Colombians might be the need to fight against Salafi jihadists, and first of all, ISIL, which is represented by fundamentalist Sunni Muslims, the sect of Islam many – if not most – in the Saudi-led coalition adhere to.
Earlier in October, Saudi Arabia confirmed arrival of several hundreds of Sudanese military troops – this time, official military – with an overall expectation of Sudanese forces to reach 6,000.