Sudanese and Senegalese troops have arrived on the Yemeni Island of Socotra, reported the Yemen Press Agency yesterday. A batch of some 600 soldiers from the two African countries turned up on the island amid earlier reports that the UAE had requested forces belonging to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) return back to Aden on the mainland, with others moving onto the Hadramaut province.
At the start of the year Sudan announced it had begun reducing the number of its troops deployed in Yemen. Senegal, a Sunni Muslim majority country is the only non-Arab country to be involved in the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition and – along with Sudan – has been since the formation of the coalition in 2015.
According to a local source, Socotra Post reported that an Emirati ship has arrived at a port of the island, carrying an unknown cargo, two weeks after the arrival of a "suspicious Emirati ship" suspected of unloading military and communications equipment. It is speculated that the shipments may be used to complete the construction of a military and intelligence base on the island. There are already concerns that Israel, which has normalised relations with the UAE and is growing closer to Sudan is working with the UAE to set up a spy base on the Yemeni island.
The Post also reported that 21 local and three international lawyers have joined a human rights group in working to file a lawsuit against the internationally recognised Yemeni government over its failure in fulfilling its duty to protect the sovereignty of the Socotra Archipelago as the UAE consolidates its influence on the island.