Gunfights were reported in Hadibo, the main town on the island of Socotra, Yemen, today. Reports state that the Southern Transitional Council, backed by the United Arab Emirates, captured the security administration building from the government forces. According to early reports medium and heavy weapons including rocket launchers were being used.
The ongoing Yemeni civil war which started in 2015 has already affected the island of Socotra, although most of the fighting has been confined to the mainland. The civil war divides the government, the Houthi rebels and the Southern Transitional Council, which is fighting for the separation of South Yemen from the country.
Both Al-Qaeda and ISIL also continue to operate in the country.
Today, reports are that the STC has attempted to take over the island of Socotra. Socotra had previously been taken over by the UAE, with some reports that the UAE plans to formally annex the archipelago and take it away from Yemen.
Socotra is located in the Indian Ocean, far from the Yemeni mainland, and is not only ecologically and culturally unique but also geostrategically important for the various powers of the region. While the UAE stepped back from its occupation of the archipelago, it still maintains a military base and is offering Emirati citizenship to many of the islands residents.
Socotra remains a jewel in the crown for most travellers too and is not usually easy to get to because of logistic or political reasons.
YPT has a planned upcoming trip this October, but we are of course continuing to watch closely to see if the tour can happen due to the covid-19 pandemic, with some tourists criticised recently for staying on the island during the pandemic.
YPT’s next tour to Socotra will be in March 2021.
If you are booked on our October tour we will update you in due course if the tour is going to proceed or not and the options for rebooking onto next year’s trips.
See our Socotra FAQ here.