04:50 GMT22 January 2021
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    Authorities for the Yemeni island of Socotra said Saturday that a vessel with 55 people on board went missing in the Indian Ocean off the country's eastern coast, media reported.

    Socotra's local authority said in a statement cited by the Xinhua news agency, that "we received a report today (Saturday) that a ferry went missing after leaving the port of Mahrah towards Socotra Island with 55 people on board".

    According to the media report, citing local officials, the ferry owned by a local merchant left the country's province of Mahrah on Wednesday but failed to arrive.

    "We made necessary communications with the Saudi-led coalition after receiving the information about the ferry that went missing and a search and rescue operation was launched", the China.org.cn media outlet reported, citing the local authority in Socotra.

    According to the media report, some military units of the Saudi-led Arab coalition have a presence in Yemen's eastern provinces in an attempt to enhance local security and combat smuggling.

    The poorest nation in the Middle East, Yemen has been engulfed in a war between government forces led by President-in-exile Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, and the armed Houthi political opposition faction for several years.

    A Saudi-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis at Hadi's request since March 2015.

    The United Nations has repeatedly observed that the Yemeni conflict the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with an estimated 24 million people - nearly 80 percent of the country’s population - currently in need of aid and protection.




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