Al Houthis seize opponents’ bank accounts

Economists believe the impact of the move will only be felt in area under Al Houthi control

Al Mukalla: Al Houthis have ordered Yemeni banks in territories they control to seize money and assets of anyone seen to be challenging their rule.

Sana’a has been under a draconian crackdown by the Iran-backed militants for nearly two weeks now following their assassination of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh earlier this month.

Saleh and his supporters entered an awkward alliance with Al Houthis in 2014 when they overthrew the legitimate government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

However, when cracks emerged in the alliance in the past few months and Saleh announced this month his support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Al Houthis, he was quickly assassinated.

Since then, the militants have cracked down hard on Saleh supporters with many escaping the city moving on to liberated areas of the country.

Local media and social media accounts widely circulated a letter from Al Houthi-controlled central bank in Sana’a, instructing local government-run and private banks to seize accounts of 1,223 people, accusing them of being “traitors”.

The list, seen by Gulf News, targets senior politicians, military and government officials, activists and lawyers.

Economists and government officials believe that Al Houthi orders would only have an effect on banks inside Sana’a and other north Yemen provinces under their control.

An official at the central bank in the city of Al Mukalla, the capital of the south-eastern province of Hadramout, where some of the targeted people live, told Gulf News that the central bank here receives orders from the central bank headquarter in Aden, which is under the control of the internationally–recognised government.

“Our instructions come from Aden. The Al Houthi order will not impact on our work,” said the official who wasn’t authorised to speak to reporters and demanded anonymity.

In September last year, Hadi ordered relocating the country’s central bank headquarters to Aden to prevent Al Houthis from plundering it in order to fund their military effort.

Hadi also ordered international monetary bodies to stop dealing with the central bank in Sana’a.

Economists have downplayed the Al Houthi ruling predicting that it will not have serious ramifications.

Meanwhile, on the ground, fighting raged between government forces and Al Houthis on all fronts.

Yemen’s Defence Ministry said that Al Houthi commander, Abdul Fattah Gallab, was killed along with five of his associates when government forces attacked their vehicle in Tazia district, north-eastern Taiz city.

Residents said that four children were injured when a rocket fired by Al Houthis exploded in a residential area in Al Ain region in Taiz.

In the central province of Baydha, where government forces have recently scored major gains by liberating two districts, tribal leaders defected from Al Houthis and joined government loyalists.


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