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The New Arab Staff

UAE sends military vehicles to STC in Socotra: Governor

The UAE has long eyed-up Yemen's Socotra island [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 February, 2021

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Socotra's governor accused the UAE of attempting to destabilise the Riyadh agreement.

The United Arab Emirates has sent another round of military equipment to separatist militias on Socotra island, the local governor has said.

Socotra governor Ramzi Mahrous said in a Facebook post on Thursday that an Emirati ship unloaded military vehicles in Socotra port "in a flagrant defiance of the legitimate government and local authorities, and a clear attempt to obstruct the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement."

He also called it “clear evidence of the activities taking place in the archipelago to destabilise security, create chaos, and confiscate the governorate's sovereignty."

The director of Socotra Port, Riyad Suleiman, also said that 19 military vehicles unloaded from an Emirati ship on Thursday were seized. The vessel, Honor, was affiliated with the UAE’s Khalifa Foundation, which provides humanitarian services. 

A local source told Arabi 21, on condition of anonymity, that "these UAE military vehicles and vehicles were sent to be used against civilians and the local population, under the pretext of providing humanitarian aid."

Emirati-backed Southern Transitional Council militias took control of Socotra Island’s capital Hadibo last June, expelling the leadership of the municipal authority was expelled from it, following clashes with forces of Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

The UAE has long eyed Socotra island, seeking to establish a military presence there, to bolster its sphere of influence along the Gulf of Aden and Bab el-Mandeb strait.

It has supported the STC to create an independent southern state, to take control of Yemen’s ports and boost its maritime trade along these waters.

Security sources in the eastern Shabwa governorate told The New Arab’s Arabic language service that Emirati forces left Camp Al-Alam on Thursday morning with all their equipment. However, a local government source denied this, telling The New Arab that there had been no such withdrawal.

The oil-rich Shabwa province has been disputed by the STC and Yemen’s government, as its natural resources would benefit any state under Hadi or STC control.

Abu Dhabi welcomed Biden’s pledge in early February to support an end to the war in Yemen, claiming it withdrew its military involvement in Yemen last October. However, critics have doubted this, as various reports indicate ongoing Emirati interference in Yemen’s south.

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