Roundup: Yemeni gov't affirms stance to secure Socotra Island 

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SANAA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik made a telephone conversation with Governor of Socotra Island Ramzi Mahrous on Wednesday, affirming his government's stance to secure the island in the Arabian Sea, the state Saba news agency reported.

The premier discussed the recent event in the island and upheld the measures taken by the island's authorities to maintain security and stability in the island, Saba said, in reference to Tuesday's clashes between the island's coast guards and forces from paramilitary "security belt forces."

The prime minister also directed the governor of Socotra and the local security authorities to take all necessary measures to maintain security and remove all tensions and work to overcome the recent problems, Saba said.

On Tuesday, the governor of Socotra issued a statement, saying that "a group of subversive elements ... engaged in clashes with the coast guards ... and after reinforcements from the military and security forces arrived to back the coast guards, the subversive elements fled."

There were no further details provided by the statements of the government or the governor.

Meanwhile, the pro-government Almasdaronline news website quoted a source at the island's seaport as saying that the "elements of the security belt forces backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) attacked the seaport and attempted to unload military vehicles from a UAE's vessel as they aimed to take over the seaport."

An official at Socotra local authorities told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity that at least 12 people from both sides were wounded in the clashes.

There were no comments from the UAE, which is supporting the Yemeni government in its war against the Iran-allied Shiite Houthi rebels.

Also, there was no comment by the "security belt forces."

Socotra is a UNESCO world natural heritage site protected by the UN body for its unique flora and fauna.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia led a military coalition to intervene in Yemen's civil war in 2015 to restore the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Enditem

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