The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reportedly handed over control of the Hanish islands, which is Yemeni territory located in the Red Sea, to Eritrea.
The illegal handover was done with the complicity of mercenary leader Tariq Afash. Eritrean naval vessels are reportedly already imposing their dominance over the islands and Yemeni territorial waters surrounding it, asserting control over the fishing waters.
Local sources in the city of Khokha, which is controlled by Tariq Afash forces backed by the UAE, confirmed that Yemeni fishermen have been been attacked by military boats from Eritrea while fishing west of the Great Hanish Island.
“Eritrean soldiers held 54 Yemeni fishermen, who were fishing near Jebel Awad Ali, at gunpoint, and confiscated seven boats along with the fish and equipment. They left the fishermen one boat they had travelled in,” the sources said.
According to the sources, “the attack took place within the sight of the Coast Guard [controlled by Tariq Afash] and the so-called Elite Forces [UAE-backed mercenaries]. They did not move and did not prevent the Eritrean boats from violating Yemeni waters and the Hanish islands.”
“The military navy of the State of Eritrea has invaded Yemen’s islands and territorial waters, and taken control over fishing, as if it were owned by them in the absence of any role for the Yemeni navy and the coalition,” the sources said.
“The UAE and Eritrea have a military agreement to use the port and airport of Assab base for its forces, its warplanes, training camps for its militias and detention camps for its opponents,” the sources noted.
The East African country of Eritrea already occupied the Hanish Islands in Yemen in 1995. The islands were liberated by Yemeni forces in 1998, but Eritrean attacks on Yemeni fishermen have continued since 2011, becoming even more significant since the start of the coalition’ invasion in 2015.
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