On late Tuesday, Mukhtar Al-Rahbi, a Yemeni adviser to the Information Minister stated that the United Arab Emirates continued to send military officials to the Yemeni island, Socotra. The Emirati move concurred with an Emirati ship dropping anchor at the strategic island, the adviser said. It is speculated that the Emirati ship was loaded with ammunition for armed groups who have been active on the island.
Last week, the Socotra governor Ramzi Mahrouz posted on Facebook stating that an Emirati ship unloaded military vehicles at Socotra Port. Also, it was reported that the Director of Socotra Port confirmed the incident. This move has been considered a clear violation of the Riyadh Agreement, signed between the legitimate government of Yemen and UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC). It is known that the STC has been controlling the island since last June, after vanquishing forces affiliated with the legitimate government.
Last October, the UAE announced that it ended its military presence in Yemen. However, legitimate government officials and independent observers have frequently mentioned that the UAE maintains its military activities. In this context, after the normalization agreement, some speculations claimed that the UAE sent Israeli military specialists to the island and started to build military facilities there. Yemen’s undersecretary of the Ministry of Information, Muhammad Qizan, called the UAE to withdraw its troops completely from Socotra, Balhaf, and Mayon, and to cut its support for local armed-groups, mainly the STC.