UAE presence in Yemen’s Socotra ‘occupation’: Minister

Monitoring Desk

SANAA: A Yemeni minister has described the military presence of the UAE in the island of Socotra as an “occupation”.

“There is no justification for the presence of UAE forces in Socotra island,” Minister of Sanaa Secretariat Abdelghani Jamil said on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

“This means occupation in the sense of the word, a full-fledged occupation,” he said.

The minister was speaking in the wake of clashes between UAE-backed Security Belt forces and Yemeni coastguard.

Security Belt forces seized control of Socotra’s port for a few hours before being forced out by troop reinforcements dispatched to the island. The Yemeni minister questioned the motives behind the Emirati military presence, citing that the island has no presence of the Houthi rebel group or Daesh terrorist group. He called on President Hadi to “take a decisive decision in this regard and clarify the ongoing events for the people and the public opinion.”

Notably, a convoy of Yemeni Fisheries Minister Fahd Kafayin and Socotra’s Governor Nezar Mahrous was targeted recently in the western part of the island by separatist forces.

Yemen army moves to capture rebel-held Bayda: The Yemeni army launched a major offensive on Wednesday to recapture the central Al-Bayda province from Houthi rebels, according to a local Yemeni official.

“A widespread military operation was launched to liberate the province from the Houthis,” Arif al-Amri, spokesman for Al-Bayda province, told Anadolu Agency. He said the offensive is backed by Saudi-led coalition warplanes. The spokesman said the army has made gains, but without giving any further details.