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Houthis Fail to Hold Back New Government-Approved Banknotes from Circulation

Houthis Fail to Hold Back New Government-Approved Banknotes from Circulation

Thursday, 5 July, 2018 - 10:30
Boys play in an abandoned car in the yard of The al-Shawkani Foundation for Orphans Care in Sanaa, Yemen, February 18, 2017. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
Sanaa - Asharq Al-Awsat

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi insurgents failed in keeping the government-supplied new Yemeni banknotes from being circulated in Sanaa and other areas they control.

Despite consistently carrying out raids to confiscate any new banknotes, the new currency has for a few days now been offered at banks, exchange shops and commercial companies.

According to banking sources in Sanaa, Houthis eventually rolled back on their decision to ban the 500 and 1,000 riyal banknotes following threats by the legitimate Aden-based government that local authorities in Marib will stop gas and goods sales to militia-controlled territory.

Marib, a Yemeni central province, exclusively deals with currency approved by the internationally-recognized government.

Sources confirmed that militias officially informed major tellers, banks and commercial companies that they suspended their decision to prevent the circulation of bills printed by the legitimate government at the Central Bank of Aden.

However, insurgents rolled back the suspension solely for notes belonging to the 500 and 1,000 riyal categories.

Sanaa shop owners and other Houthi-controlled areas resumed using the new local currency, two days after refusing to deal in fear militias raiding and seizing their assets.

Other banking sources confirmed that Houthis managed to rob hundreds of millions in new notes and redistributed them among coup members and security committees.

Witnesses told Asharq Al-Awsat that the group's gunmen raided a branch of a well-known currency exchange shop in Sanaa two days ago and seized about 10 million riyals ($20,000) in new banknotes.

When the owner asked Houthi militants the reason behind the raid, they told him that it wasn’t allowed for the new notes to run in Houthi territory.

Shockingly, when the owner was faced with the ban, he chose to set the banknotes on fire rather than handing them over to the Houthis.

Activists took to social networking sites with satire condemning the Houthi decision.

Militias claimed that the new series, which was approved and printed by the legitimate government through a Russian company, caused the nationwide inflation.

Houthis turn a blind eye to their looting of national cash reserves which lost the country an estimated $5 billion.

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