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STC dismiss Socotra port director following UAE arms ship reveal

A fighter loyal to Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) holds the separatist flag in the southern Abyan province on 15 May 2020 [NABIL HASAN/AFP/Getty Images]
A fighter loyal to Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) holds the separatist flag in the southern Abyan province on 15 May 2020 [NABIL HASAN/AFP/Getty Images]

Yemeni Minister of Transport Abdul-Salam Hamid has dismissed Director of Socotra Port Riyad Suleiman days after he uncovered the unloading of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)'s ship of military equipment, The New Khalij reported on Friday.

Hamid, a UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) leader, announced his decision on his ministry's Facebook page on Thursday. He nominated Mohammad Salem Mohammad as the new director of the port.

Officials from Socotra told Anadolu Agency that Suleiman was sacked over his repeated rejection to allow the unlawful entry of UAE ships to the port, the last of which was the Takreem ship, which claimed that it carried humanitarian assistance for Yemenis, but it instead unloaded military vehicles.

Sources have alleged that the sacked director is waiting for the presidency's stance on the issue, noting that the new director is known for his loyalty to the UAE and the STC.

On 18 December, 2020, the current Yemeni government was formed with 24 ministers, half from the STC and half from the north, based on the Riyadh Agreement between the former government and the STC.

READ: Car bomb hits UAE-backed forces in Yemen's Aden

Emirati-backed STC militias took control of Socotra Island's capital Hadiboh last June, expelling from it the municipal authority's leadership, following clashes with forces of Yemen's internationally-recognised government.

The UAE has long had its sights set on Socotra island, seeking to establish a military presence to bolster its sphere of influence along the Gulf of Aden and Bab El-Mandeb Strait, The New Arab revealed.

It has supported the STC to create an independent southern state to control Yemen's ports and boost its maritime trade along these waters.

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