Some 800 former Colombian military troops will enter the city port of Aden in Yemen, switching the jungle terrain of their home country for the deserts of Arabia.
The former Colombian army troops will join a coalition of allied international troops fighting Shiite rebels. They will operate under the service of the UAE Armed Forces, donning a Saudi uniform in defense of the Yemeni government.
Domestic hostilities with Shiite rebels that have grown since their initiation in 2004, with the UN reporting the situation to be “on the brink of a civil war.”
After over 50 years of civil war in their home country the Colombian military officials have a vast experience in this area, though a change in scenery will provide a variety of different challenges.
Troops have received training in urban combat in the desert, location control, police raids and security bases and caravans. They will reportedly also face advanced intelligence as they fight to regain the capital city under control of Shia rebels.
“It is a completely different war to that which we live in Colombia in every way.”
A retired commander of the Colombian Armed Forces spoke to El Tiempo about his experiences, “We are called mercenaries, traitors, cowards and opportunists. We are nothing like that. We are men who made a decision in response to the lack of guarantees.”
In return for 3 months on the line survivors the fighters, will receive an additional bursary of $1,000 each week on top of current salaries. For those that survive, they will be granted instant citizenship to the UAE.
The outcome of the civil war in the strategically important oil-rich country of Yemen poses great influence on the West. Reportedly concerned neighboring countries have, as such, joined battle against the rebels.
This is not the first instance of Colombian exports of expertise in war, marketing their military skills for the promise of higher earnings outside of the home country.
“We are even teaching American troops how to fight irregular armies and Chinese troops how to become prime snipers,” Walther Giraldo, commander of Fort Tolemaida said.