[Arab World] UAE-backed separatists stage coup in Yemen’s Socotra
Yemeni separatists funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) staged a coup in Yemen’s Socotra island on Saturday, taking control of military and police camps.
The Yemeni government on Saturday said the militia of Southern Transition Council (STC) staged “a full-fledged coup in the governorate of Socotra.”
“The militias of the so-called Transitional Council in the Socotra carried out a full-fledged coup that undermined state institutions in the province,” said an unnamed official quoted by Yemen’s official news agency.
“These militias launched an attack with various medium and heavy weapons, targeting state institutions and citizens’ properties, and stormed government camps and headquarters as well,” the official said.
The official called on the Saudi-led coalition to help “stop the mess, chaos and aggression carried out by militia and implement the provisions of the Riyadh agreement.”
Socotra Governor Ramzi Mahrous condemned the separatist attacks in his province, saying from his home in Socotra that his forces would fight back.
Recently, calls have grown against the UAE’s presence in Socotra.
Earlier this month, hundreds demonstrated to demand the expulsion of forces of the STC. Waving Yemeni flags, protesters chanted slogans in support of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and in rejection of the STC’s self-rule.
The militias who are part of the Southern Transitional Council were the on-the-ground allies of the UAE, once Saudi Arabia’s main coalition partner in the years-long war against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.
The UAE is a major partner in a Saudi-led military campaign that is supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government against Iran-allied Houthi rebels, who are in control of the capital Sanaa. But ties between the Yemeni government and the UAE have soured recently, as the UAE has been accused of also supporting separatists in Yemen.
The anti-Houthi coalition has fractured over the past months, as violence erupted in Yemen’s south between the Saudi-backed government and the UAE-backed separatists.