SANAA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- At least 12 people were wounded in clashes between Yemen's coast guards and "separatist militias" backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), when the latter tried to land in the Yemeni Socotra Island in an attempt to take over the seaport, the Yemeni local authority in Socotra and officials said on Wednesday.
The clashes erupted on Tuesday afternoon following the arrival of a UAE-flagged vessel at the island's main seaport.
"The separatist troops attempted to unload military vehicles and machine guns from the vessel in an attempt to seize control of the island's seaport," the local authority, which is loyal to the internationally-recognized government, said in a statement.
"The coast guards backed by the security forces engaged in clashes against the separatist militias, forcing them along with their vessel to run away from the seaport," the local authority said.
An official at the Socotra local authority told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that the number of "separatist militias" were about 100, adding that about 12 from both sides were wounded in the clashes.
Tuesday's clashes were the latest between the forces loyal to the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which is based in the southern port city of Aden, and the militias recruited by the UAE.
Tensions have escalated between the UAE and the Yemeni government since 2016 over what Hadi's government complain of the UAE's military moves on Socotra.
In May, similar clashes erupted between both sides as the Yemeni government opposes the UAE's moves on Socotra.
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 Hadi.