The United Arab Emirates (UAE
) says it has deployed military recruits to Yemen
’s strategic Socotra Island for training purposes.
The UAE’s official WAM news agency reported late on Monday that the “intensive” training program included exercises to enhance battle skills, weapons’ use, and first aid.
Emirati forces and aid organizations have been stationed on Socotra Island since November 2015.
Last February, reports suggested that Yemen’s former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, had rented out Socotra to the UAE for 99 years in an attempt to get Abu Dhabi’s support amid the conflict gripping the impoverished country.
Last month, an Emirati airline reportedly launched flights between Abu Dhabi and Socotra.
Socotra, a small archipelago of four Indian Ocean islands, lies about 240 kilometers east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometers south of the Arabian Peninsula.
The file photo shows a Landsat view of the Yemeni island of Socotra.
The island was part of Yemen’s Hadhramaut Province but was introduced as an independent governorate in a 2013 decree by Hadi.
Saudi Arabia has been leading a brutal military campaign against Yemen for more than two years to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly Hadi. The Saudi military campaign has, however, failed to achieve its goals.
Saudi Arabia receives backing in the war from a number of its client states, including the UAE. There have, however, been some indications that Saudi Arabia and the UAE disagree on a number of issues over the war on Yemen.
The protracted war has already killed over 12,000 Yemenis, according to recent tallies.