Yemen separatist leader says UAE 'occupying' south

Fecha de publicación: 
27 Mayo 2019
A leader in Yemen's southern separatist movement has accused the UAE of occupying the war-torn country's south

A leader in Yemen's southern separatist movement has accused the UAE of occupying the war-torn country's south, due to the Gulf state's military and economic presence in the region.

Ali Mohammed al-Saadi made the criticism in an online statement on Saturday, local media reported.

"The truth is that the UAE is occupying the south. Some say that it has given them tanks, money and formed a southern army. I think that until now there is no southern army and that there are local militias, which are a time bomb that the UAE will blow up when it feels like it is no longer wanted in the south," he added.

"Whoever thinks the UAE's generosity comes is no-string-attached lives in another world. Tomorrow they will wake up and realise too late that things have gone past the point of no return."

The UAE is one of the countries fighting on behalf of Yemen's internationally-recognised government against the Houthi rebels.

But relations are tense between the UAE, which is pursuing its own agenda in war-torn Yemen, and the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The UAE has recruited thousands of fighters from the separatist southern movement who have clashed with government troops.

In January 2018, southern separatists took control of the city of Aden, where Hadi's government had fled following the 2015 Houthi takeover of Sanaa.

The separatists say they have more than 50,000 fighters armed and trained by the UAE and aim to restore the independent state of Southern Yemen, which united with the north in 1990.

Concerns have been raised surrounding the UAE's intentions in the south, where it has built a solid link of alliances and established control over major cities, especially Aden.

The Emiratis boast several bases in the coastal city where the country's forces operate all military activity, including training local men-turned-soldiers.

Earlier this month, the Yemeni government has accused the UAE of landing around a hundred southern separatists on the island of Socotra.