Saudi troops arrive on Yemen's Socotra after UAE tensions

Riyadh (AFP) –


Saudi troops have been deployed to the Yemeni island of Socotra following tensions over the United Arab Emirates' presence there, the Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen said Sunday.

"Saudi forces have arrived on the island of Socotra... to train and support Yemeni forces," the coalition announced through Saudi's state-owned Al-Ekhbariya channel.

The deployment was said to have been coordinated with the Yemeni government.

The United Arab Emirates is a key pillar of the Saudi-led coalition battling Huthi rebels in support of the Yemeni government, but has recently distanced itself from President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

A government source confirmed to AFP that Emirati soldiers were deployed to Socotra earlier this month without the approval of Hadi's government, which controls the Arabian Sea island.

The presence of UAE troops angered Socotra residents, who asserted there were no rebels on the island, the source said.

Socotra had been spared involvement in the Yemeni conflict, which has claimed nearly 10,000 lives since March 2015 and triggered what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.