Dubai: The UAE has rejected a recent report by the Associated Press claiming the existence of UAE-run secret prisons in southern Yemen.

“What has been mentioned in the report is completely untrue and is just a political manoeuvre by Al Houthi militias to defame the Arab coalition in Yemen, which intervened to save the Yemeni people,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said in a statement issued on Friday.

The ministry reaffirmed that only the Yemeni government was involved in running and managing the jails in Yemen, and the UAE had no role whatsoever.

The UAE’s role, and that of the coalition forces, are just in Yemen to train Yemeni soldiers, the statement added.

The statement pointed out that the UAE had played a pivotal role in helping Yemeni forces expel Al Qaida from southern Yemen.

“Groups affiliated to Al Qaida are responsible for the cruel deaths of hundreds of Yemeni officials, police and civilians.”

In addition to training Yemeni forces, the UAE has provided billions of dollars in support to stabilise south Yemen and provide citizens with water, electricity and repair schools and hospitals.

UAE armed forced deployed in Yemen are complying with international conventions with regard to wars and conflicts, the statement said.

Since April 2015, the UAE has provided more than $2 billion to support humanitarian operations, development and reconstruction in various sectors, including infrastructure, health care and housing across Yemen. The aid had benefited 10 million Yemenis of whom four million were children, Al Shamsi said.

The aid included 172,000 tonnes of food supplies to address severe food shortages, polio vaccines for 488,000 children, medicines, medical supplies and ambulances for Aden, Taiz and Hodeida.

The UAE also rebuilt or restored more than 270 schools and 40 hospitals and clinics across Yemen, the Riyan Airport in Hadramout province, as well as an airport and a seaport on Socotra Island to facilitate humanitarian delivery. Work is under way to restore the strategic Mokha Port that was liberated from rebel militias to use it as an additional port for delivering humanitarian aid in Taiz.

The UAE has also teamed up with international organisations such as the World Food Programme, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), the World Health Organisation, and the International Committee of the Red Cross to help Yemenis.

Aid provided by the UAE to support budgets, logistic capabilities and training programmes of the judicial authorities and police forces was vital in order to provide security for international and local humanitarian organisations operating in Yemen.

The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has been exacerbated by Iran-backed Al Houthi militias loyal to the now-ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh which perpetrated a coup d’etat against the legitimate government and the political track around which Yemenis were united.

The rebels have used excessive violence against civilians, which prompted the Arab Coalition to respond to a request from the legitimate government to interfere to protect Yemen from the Al Houthi-Saleh aggression.