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Houthi Arrests Target General People’s Congress Leaderships in Yemen’s Hodeidah

Houthi Arrests Target General People’s Congress Leaderships in Yemen’s Hodeidah

Monday, 11 June, 2018 - 06:00
Houthi militants in Yemen. (Reuters)
Sanaa, al-Hodeidah – Asharq Al-Awsat
The Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen carried out a wave of arrests against members of the General People’s Congress (GPC) in the Hodeidah province.

Sources from the party said that its members were detained on charges of collaborating with the legitimate Yemeni forces, which are supported by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, to storm Hodeidah city.

The arrests are part of a wider campaign that targets all whom the Houthis suspect of contacting the legitimate forces, Arab coalition and nephew of slain former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Tariq Saleh.

Among the recent detainees is permanent GPC members Qassem Mehdi Haidar and Akram Fatwan.

The sources attributed the new arrests to the state of panic gripping the Houthis as the legitimate forces continued to advance on Hodeidah and its strategic port.

Other figures that have been arrested by the militias include journalists and activists in Sanaa, Ibb, Dhamar and al-Mahwit.

Meanwhile, witnesses in Hodeidah said that the Houthis have continued to set up barricades in the city in anticipation of an impending guerrilla war with the advancing legitimate forces. They dug up trenches and tunnels along the southern and eastern outskirts of the city and deployed snipers on rooftops.

The militias also continued their oppressive practices on the ground, the latest of which was the confiscation of humanitarian food aid that was provided by international organizations. The Houthis seized the aid and hoarded them to their fighters and families, depriving the residents on the West coast of the much needed relief.

Furthermore, the Iran-backed group also forced the poor residents in this region to join its ranks so that it may seize its share of humanitarian aid.

Houthi sources themselves acknowledged that a number of the militias’ sectarian organizations, such as Bunyan, al-Imam Ali, Fatima al-Zahraa and Thabat, had distributed food baskets on the families of the fighters, while depriving other Yemenis of this aid.

Such practices have been condemned by local humanitarian organizations.

These actions coincided with further militia violations against the Yemeni people. The Houthis recently ordered business owners to pay in advance next year’s taxes, a step that will exacerbate the people’s suffering and raise the prices of goods.

A number of these business owners complained to Asharq Al-Awsat over this new move, saying that they reject it, but were forced to comply out of fear of reprisals.

“Imagine that you have to pay the taxes and fees of services you have not even earned. You do not know how much merchandise you have, neither their cost nor profit,” said one business owner to Asharq Al-Awsat.

“You do not even know whether you will be alive or dead next year and despite this, you are made to pay for next year’s taxes,” he lamented.

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