Emirati-backed Security Belt (SB) forces arrived Monday in the Yemeni Socotra Island on Indian Ocean, said local sources, despite the archipelago governor's warnings of any "presence of security divisions out of the state's control."
"Forces of the Socotri SB militias arrived Monday in Socotra port, coming from Aden via Mukalla, under sponsorship and support from the United Arab Emirates that had transported them from Socotra to Aden to be trained by its militias," said advisor to Yemeni official info ministry.
Arrival of the 300-manned force has been arranged for by the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and coordinated with STC member General Salim Abdullah al-Socotri who came on 24 April from UAE to receive the force," Mokhtar al-Rahabi added on Twitter.
"These militias have been mobilized against legitimacy to execute UAE and STC directives," he said supporting his words with photos and footages for that force.
"Arrangements are underway to locate a special site for those militias and then other militias will be outsourced in precautions that Socotra people may not fulfill UAE and STC directives," said Rahabi.
Socotra saw last May unprecedented tension, following UAE deployment of military troops in the archipelago's airport and seaport without a permit from central or local authorities, but the problem was ended after Saudi mediation and troop pullout.
On 30 April, Socotra governor vowed to disallow any military divisions or security forces to be established out of the official institutions, dismissing such divisions as source for conflict in the southern Yemeni island.
Those entities have divided Yemenis and kindled conflicts, Governor Ramzi Mahroos told a gathering of public leaders of Socotra, rejecting the formation of SB forces like those in other provinces.
SB forces will be a "seat for conflicts .. and we don't want Socotra to be a field for fighting. It should be safe for all its people," an implied hint at the Emirati presence that has recently increased in the archipelago with tens of people recruited as SB forces.
Mahroos asserted to take legal actions against any attempts to destabilize security in the governorate.
Last March, Al-Jazeera TV quoted local sources as saying that tens of Socotra men boarded UAE ships heading for Aden, where they would be trained at Emirati-run camps.
Abu Dhabi plans to form "Socotri Elite" militias similar to those in Aden, Hadhramout and Shabwa, according to the sources.
The Yemeni government has repeatedly rejected the presence of any SB-like military or security units in the island.
Any forces may not be formed out of defense and interior ministries' approval, said the government, warning that such units would be dealt with as "armed militias that have no legitimate presence."
The UAE formed, trained and equipped SB forces and many Yemeni military and security divisions in Aden and other southern governorates to fight al-Qaeda that exploited civil war to expand its influence in the south, although the gulf state claims the group was forced out.
The UAE is a key player in a Saudi-led coalition that intervened militarily in the country in March 2015 to reinstate the internationally recognized Yemeni government of President Hadi.