A Yemeni government minister described the UAE presence on the island of Socotra as an "integrated occupation" and called on President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to take a decisive decision on it and to expose the Yemeni people to what is happening in the island south of the country.

"There is no justification whatsoever for the presence of the Emirates on the island of Socotra," said the minister of state, Maj. Gen. Abdul Ghani Jamil, in a leaflet on Facebook. "This means occupation in the sense of occupation.

"What do you want from Socotra, where there is no Huthi, there is no rule or advocate (the organization of the Islamic state) or any subversive elements at all?" He asked.

The minister called on the president and his government to "take a decisive decision in this matter and the public's disclosure, what happens and what is going on and explain it to the public opinion."

He vowed that the Yemenis would not be a "hanger or a bridge to occupy our islands and ports and violate the sovereignty of our country, no matter how much we paid the price of defending our sovereignty and dignity ... No, no, we will not shut up.

The comments came after clashes broke out between government-backed coastguard forces and UAE-backed forces calling themselves the "security belt in the port of Socotra."

The US-backed security forces took control of the port of Socotra for a few hours, before reinforcements from the security forces and the army were able to get them out of the port.

The clashes came a day after separatist gunmen loyal to the southern transitional council attacked the motorcade of fishery minister Fahd Kafain and the governor of Socotra island of Nizar Mahrous as they were leaving a government installation west of the island.

Socotra in May 2018 saw unprecedented tension following the dispatch of Abu Dhabi military force to it in conjunction with the presence of then Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Dagher and a number of ministers.

Following the government's rejection of the move and its insistence on the withdrawal of the UAE forces, Saudi mediation intervened, which led to the departure of those forces from the island away from the armed conflict in Yemen.