Yemeni separatists seize the Socotra Archipelago, conflicts from the northern side heads south
Southern Transitional Council seizes the UNESCO World Heritage site, The Galapagos of Indian Ocean: Socotra Island, protracting the North-South conflict.
The Southern Transitional Council – a secessionist organisation in Yemen was formed by a faction of the Southern Separatist Movement and was colloquially known as Al-Hirak-Al-Janoubi. It is presently led by Aidarus al-Zoubaidi. The council declared self-govern on 25th April 2020 that called for catastrophic consequences from the Saudi Arabian backed government in Yemen. The decision was taken unilaterally because the Riyadh agreement made on 5th November, between the STC and UN-recognised government of Yemen, was not executed.
The foreign minister of the Yemeni Government, Mohammad al Hadrami, the governors of Shabwa, Socotra, Mahrah and Hadramout, and UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash, deemed the decision escalatory and the act as a statement for declaration of the complete withdrawal of STC from the Riyadh government.
However, the South Yemen insurgency led by Houthi communities who control the north is backed by the United Arab Emirates, which is also a close gulf ally and a member of the Saudi Arabian coalition.
The Socotra Island, Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, and the largest island in the Socotra Archipelago that sits on the Gulf of Aden has now been seized by the Yemeni separatists. The STC has seized its military bases and major institutions along with the port. The island serves geographical, biological, and economical fulfilment to its inmates. The shipping lane at the Island links Asia to Europe via the Red Sea and Suez Canal.
The south government, which is led by President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, condemned the militias’ action as a “full-fledged” coup and accused STC forces of attacking government buildings and storming the headquarters.
The coalition leaders – Saudi Arabia and UAE were criticised by the Socotra Governor, Ramzi Mahroos for backing STC while they fought against the government in the south.
The UAE-funded battalion imposed airstrikes and as a result, Brigadier Abdel-Rahman al-Zafrani, commander of the air force in the province was amongst the arrested.
According to the UN, the Yemen civil war has led to the country’s largest humanitarian crisis, displacing about 3.65 million from their homes, with around 2 million children heading towards acute malnutrition, followed by the world’s largest cholera outbreak and a nearing famine in the prevailing coronavirus pandemic.