Security Tightens in Socotra Following Disappearance of Fishermen

Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki

Yemeni authorities tightened security in Socotra, on Saturday, to protect local fishermen from kidnapping and piracy, to control illegal fishing and to monitor the coastline. 

Colonel Salim Abdulla, Socotra’s security chief, said the tightening of security measures includes the establishment of security checkpoints along the coast to monitor the movement of vessels and other activities and in order to identify people who travel in and out of the island.

“We designated four protected areas on the 300 mile coastline where fishermen can fish,” he said. “All fishermen who come to the island should be registered.”

Salim claimed that “several Somali fishermen come to the island, endangering Yemeni fishermen. An undetermined number of Yemeni fishermen have been kidnapped.”

Salim said authorities developed the action plan in coordination with the Association of Fishermen and the Socotra Coast Guard.

The campaign on the island launched a week after the disappearance of five fishermen. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

Salem Daheq, the director of Hadibo area and  the father of three disappeared fishermen, said the five fishermen disappeared last week. He said the authorities did not know if it was a result of seasonal winds or piracy.

“Fishermen are always kidnapped because large numbers of them come from Yemeni governorates and from Somalia without licenses,” Daheq said.

Daheq said that security officials are continuing the search for the missing fishermen, adding that the security plan will reduce the number of kidnapping by monitoring the island’s borders.

Socotra archipelago, which is a part of Hadramout governorate, had a population of 136,000 in 2004, according to the latest statistics.

Described as one of the most exotic areas in the world for its unique biodiversity, the island was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2008.


Original Article