On February 27th, the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council in Yemen announced that it would place Socotra Island under its control and away from that of Yemen’s Saudi puppet government.
The adviser to the Yemeni Minister of Information, Mukhtar Al-Rahbi, said that the second battalion in Socotra governorate rebelled against the Yemen government and raised the flag of separation, and declared loyalty to the Southern Transitional Council.
Al-Rahbi confirmed, in two posts on Twitter, that this presumed separation comes in light of the ongoing rebellion of the coast guard battalion on the island which started on February 4th.
He explained that “the commander of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Brigade, Marine Brigade, Abdullah Ahmad Daman Kanzhar, rebelled against the state and raised the transitional flag.”
He pointed out that “there are other brigades ready to rebel and are awaiting the directions of the UAE representative in Socotra.”
He criticized the “silence of the Saudi forces command on the island regarding this rebellion, and the cooperation of some military leaders,” which he did not name.
Al-Rahbi revealed a meeting held by the representative of Socotra, Raed Al-Juraibi, with the leaders of the Southern Transitional Council, and accused him of facilitating the coup plot against state institutions.
He said that the Emirati delegate on the island, Khalfan Al Mazroui, gave to the provincial governor, Al-Juraibi, a car, as a gift for the services he provided to the Transitional militia and the UAE.
On February 4th, the governor of Socotra Ramzi Mahrous accused the UAE of supporting a military rebellion against the Saudi puppet government after members of the “Coast Guard Battalion” of the “1st Marine Brigade” announced a rebellion against the legitimacy of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and of joining the Southern Transitional Council.
Mahrous said that “the step is a dangerous precedent of its kind in the province, and that it took place in the presence of elements of the Transitional Militia itself, with clear and explicit support from the UAE” and vowed that the state will not stand idle towards this behavior, which he described as “a disgraceful and calling for strife and division in the province.”
Yemeni officials accuse the UAE of providing military and financial support to Yemeni militias, including the Southern Transitional Council, to serve UAE private interests, which Abu Dhabi usually denies.
On October 8th, 2019, a security official announced the end of the manifestations of a “security rebellion”, supported by the Emirates in Socotra, stressing that government forces had consolidated control of all the camps and security centers.
Socotra is strategically significant because it sits at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden. Shipping traffic on the way to the Bab al-Mandab Strait and Suez passes next to it.
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