A Yemeni government official yesterday warned that the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed forces of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) are preparing to storm the capital of Socotra, condemning the withdrawal of Saudi forces from security checkpoints in the area.
Local sources revealed that the UAE-backed STC forces are deploying fighters on the island of Socotra in preparation for storming the city of Hadiboh, after rejecting the outcomes of the meeting held on Wednesday with the government security services headed by the Arab Coalition.
According to Bilqis TV, the sources indicated that the STC rejected the points agreed upon in its meeting with the Saudi forces and government agencies, and mobilised its gunmen in the Haibak area at the western entrance to Socotra Island.
Mukhtar Al-Rahbi, an adviser to the Yemeni information minister, posted on Twitter: “There are intense attempts to storm the city of Hadiboh, the capital of Socotra, by the STC’s gangs (the Security Belt forces), after the withdrawal of the Saudi forces from security checkpoints in the entrances to the capital.”
Al-Rahbi added: “Security forces, the army, the heroes and free men of Socotra are facing these arrogant gangs coming from outside Socotra.”
He criticised the position of Saudi Arabia, and the leader of the Arab coalition, by confirming: “1,000 Saudi soldiers are present in Socotra to support the government and the legitimacy, but when the governorate’s capital was endangered by the gangs of the STC, these forces withdrew from all the checkpoints where they were stationed.”
Al-Rahbi accused the STC head in Socotra, Rafat Ali Ibrahim, of trying to drag the governorate into: “A spiral of violence and death.”
These developments came a day after the signing of an agreement between the government forces and the STC fighters, under the auspices of the Arab coalition, to normalise the security situation in Socotra, after two days of renewed clashes.
Al-Rahbi continued: “The gangs of the STC signed an agreement yesterday, pledging that no armoured vehicles or heavy weapons would leave its military units, but today armoured vehicles and heavy weapons are trying to storm Socotra, while Saudi Arabia is turning a blind eye on the matter.”
He condemned the Saudi forces of treating the legitimate state and the coup gangs at an equal footing, adding that: “Socotra witnessed decades of security and stability until the Emirates entered it and recruited armed gangs to spread chaos and destruction in the area. Today these gangs are preparing to storm Hadiboh.”
Al-Rahbi’s comments came after the STC forces took control of Hadiboh’s western entrance, and deployed large military reinforcements in the area.
During a meeting at the Saudi force’s headquarters in Socotra, the government security services and leaders of the UAE-backed STC discussed several points, including the normalisation of security conditions, the removal of military equipment and the establishment of a ceasefire, in addition to preventing the exit of weapons and military vehicles from the military units.