Satellite data reveal the United Arab Emirates discreetly shipped military weapons, equipment and troops to Yemeni islands.
Emirati cargo ships trespassed Yemeni ports to transport military equipment to the south of the country, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday.
The Emirati cargo ship ‘Naima’ was seen on satellite images sailing between the UAE and several Yemeni ports, including Al-Mukalla, Al-Mokha and Mayun island.
Satellite data showed the ship first sailed to the port of Al-Mukalla on June 7 and then to the island of Mayun last Thursday, where it reportedly unloaded military equipment.
According to Al Jazeera, an official source in the Saudi coalition denied reports that Emirati forces were present in the Yemeni islands of Socotra and Mayun, claiming the shipment delivered to the Island belonged to the Saudi-led coalition, of which the UAE is party to.
However, The Associated Press revealed a “mysterious airbase is being built on Mayun Island in the Bab al-Mandab Strait,” noting satellite images show a 1.85-kilometer-long runway as well as three hangars on the island.
According to AP, the Yemeni government officials said the UAE was behind building the base, despite announcing the withdrawal of its forces from Yemen in 2019.
US Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said the base is “a reminder that the UAE is not actually out of Yemen.”
This base will ease the way for future attacks and bombardments, according to officials.
The UAE has long been accused of attempting to control the island of Socotra off the southern coast of the besieged country, as well as other southern regions of the war-torn country.
Since the Saudi-led coalition intervention in 2015, Yemen’s internationally-recognised government has accused the UAE of sowing discord among Yemeni parties, pointing to Abu Dhabi’s funding of secessionist groups in a bid to build influence in the south.
Last August, US website Southfront, which specialises in military and strategic research, said the UAE and Israel intend to build military and intelligence facilities in the Yemeni archipelago of Socotra.