Yemen condemns Israeli, Emirati eviction of Socotra island residents
About 1,000 fishermen from the Abd al-Kuri Island of the Socotra archipelago are being relocated, as the UAE intends to limit it to a strictly Israeli and Emirati presence
By News Desk - February 24 2023

An Israeli tourist stands on a hilltop in Yemen’s Socotra Island. January 2022. (Photo credit: Twitter)

The Ministry of Fishing in Yemen’s National Salvation Government (NSG) in Sanaa has strongly condemned the UAE’s eviction of residents from the Abd al-Kuri Island of the Socotra archipelago off the Yemeni coast, which Abu Dhabi has been carrying out as part of its long-active plan of transforming Socotra into an Israeli-Emirati military and intelligence hub.

The ministry strongly condemned “the forced displacement of fishermen and residents of the island, and [their forced eviction towards the coastal town of] Hadiboh,” a 22 February statement read.

The statement added that the displacement of the island’s residents and fishermen represents a “flagrant violation” of Yemen’s sovereignty, as well as a threat to navigation and the residents of nearby islands.

The ministry also highlighted the “geostrategic importance of Abd al-Kuri Island” and demanded that the UN Security Council call for an immediate cessation of the UAE’s forced eviction of the island’s residents.

According to the Yemeni statement, these forced evictions follow the recent arrival of Israeli officers to Socotra and the construction of new barracks and military facilities on Abd al-Kuri Island.

This is confirmed by Yemeni journalist and activist Anis Mansour, who on 20 February strongly condemned the “bringing in of Israeli and Emirati forces to the island without the knowledge of the leadership or authorities, in a blatant challenge to Yemeni dignity and sovereignty.”

Mansour said that “the invading forces began to expel the Yemeni local armed tribes from the island, and the residents present there are also being expelled to the Qusa’ir area.”

Mansour also claimed that the Saudi-led coalition plans to ‘secure housing’ in Hadhramaut for about 1,000 fishermen from the island in order to limit the island to the presence of Emirati-Israeli military and intelligence officials only.

Israel is interested in the strategic archipelago because it serves as a potential flashpoint for a confrontation with Iran. In 2020, the Washington Institute published an analysis examining how Israeli submarines could potentially strike the Islamic Republic from positions near Yemen.

In January 2022, Socotra made headlines due to controversial photos of Israeli tourists who had visited the islands under a UAE-issued visa.

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