Activists on the Yemeni island of Socotra have condemned the fact that flights by the UAE’s Emirates airline are continuing despite the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
It has been reported on the Houthi-aligned news site Uprising Today that Emirates flights have been carrying passengers from countries with known cases of the virus, including the UAE, to Socotra, ignoring the local authorities’ decision to suspend all flights.
Activists have called on the internationally-recognised government and local leadership to crack down on these flights. According to an official tweet, Emirates will suspend “most passenger flights” from tomorrow.
There have also been reports that UAE forces have cut off the electricity from Socotra’s capital Hadebo in an attempt to subdue its residents. Local people have accused the UAE of being an occupation force.
Today we made the decision to temporarily suspend most passenger flights by 25 March 2020. SkyCargo operations will continue. This painful but pragmatic move will help Emirates Group preserve business viability and secure jobs worldwide, avoiding cuts. https://t.co/x7Y9XUOaAW 1/5 pic.twitter.com/LyU9CLR4iU
— Emirates Airline (@emirates) March 22, 2020
Elsewhere in Yemen, Ahmed Balhaf, the external communications official at the Mahrah protest sit-in committee, revealed on Saturday that soldiers from Saudi forces in the eastern province had been infected with the Covid-19 virus. Last week, he accused the Saudi forces of closing Mahrah’s Nishtun port on the pretext of combatting Al-Qaeda elements over “the continued occupation of the port”.
According to an article last month on Al-Masirah, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the lead partners in the Arab coalition, are seeking to annex and control Socotra and Mahrah province. Socotra is strategically located in the Indian Ocean and Mahrah can enable the Saudi government with pipeline access to the Arabian Sea in order to circumvent the Strait of Hormuz.