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UAE-backed military merger rejected by south Yemen body

UAE soldiers seen during a training excercise with US troops [Thomas Mudd/Marines.mil]
UAE soldiers seen during a training excercise [Thomas Mudd/Marines.mil, File photo]

The chairman of the General Council of Mahra and Socotra has rejected a call to merge or form a UAE-backed military force in the southern governorates, Aden Tomorrow reported.

Al-Muhri Bin Isa Al-Afar declined to establish a Security Belt Force in Al-Mahrah and Socotra Island on the basis of preserving independence and the historic identity from the Southern Transitional Council (STC).

The United Arab Emirates entered the Yemen civil war as part of the Saudi-led coalition to support Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s governance in March 2015. Two years into the conflict, the Emirates set up and supported the STC, which calls for secession from northern Yemen and Hadi’s rule.

Last week, the President of the STC, Aidarous Al-Zubaidi, travelled to Azzan to set up a National Assembly and announce peace and security from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in a bid to establish alliances and political strongholds.

The Mahra governorate is distinct from other southern governorates; the population speaks a modern south Arabian language, Mehri, and its capital is Al-Ghaydah.

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