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Yemen: 30 Businessmen Under House Arrest Seek Government's Help to Leave Sanaa

Yemen: 30 Businessmen Under House Arrest Seek Government's Help to Leave Sanaa

Saturday, 30 March, 2019 - 08:30
Armed Houthis attend a gathering in Sanaa, Yemen December 19, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)
Jeddah - Saeed al-Abyad
A number of prominent Yemeni businessmen, under house arrest in Yemen's capital Sanaa, have asked the government to find a way to get them out of the city after receiving direct death threats if they stop financial influx for top militia leaders under the so-called “war effort” fund, revealed a top Yemeni official.

The thirty businessmen, whose names were not revealed for security reasons, contacted the legitimate government through intermediaries demanding they be taken from the city in any way, especially as many of them began to lose control over their financial accounts.

The economic situation in the city is dire, especially after the depletion of many financial resources that insurgents depend on. As financial resources became scarce, militias had put the businessmen under house arrest and monitored their homes in case they wanted to escape.

Asharq Al-Awsat received information indicating that militias monitored the assets of the businessmen in Sanaa and all financial operations for takeover if they refused to comply with orders. They forced operating bank managers to provide daily reports on financial transactions.

Spokesman of the armed forces Brigadier General Abdo Abdullah Majali informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the legitimate government contacted the 30 investors under house arrest, asserting that the government is trying to extract them from Sanaa, making sure they are not harmed in the process.

Majali stressed that the government will spare no effort to protect its citizens and will work by all means to remove officials, bank managers, and businessmen detained by the militias without legal justification.

The businessmen are living in bad conditions and suffer systematic oppression, he said, adding that they fear the militias would go ahead and execute the death threats, explaining the army is carefully dealing with the situation to maintain their safety.

Manager of Central Bank’s branch in Maerib, Jamal al-Kamil, confirmed in a telephone call with Asharq Al-Awsat that armed militias in Sanaa forced at gunpoint bank managers to carry out inventories of the available funds in these banks.

He claimed the militias are systematically seizing the banks’ funds and refused to trade with the new currency issued by the legitimate government “YR1,000”.

Kamil explained that businessmen under house arrest have two choices: either leave Sanaa or areas controlled by militias to ensure their safety or stay in the city to maintain their finances and properties.

The situation was similar in Tihama area, according to journalist and rights activist Abdel Hafiz al-Hattami, who said militants carried out major violations against merchants and closed companies, factories and shops while imposing additional fees to the taxes and customs claiming they were the so-called “Khoms and war effort”.

Hattami added that militias ordered traders to pay salaries to some of its elements, pointing out that they had killed a number of businessmen after storming into their homes and confiscating their property.

Several farms in Hodeidah, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb and Sanaa, were destroyed after militias turned them into military barracks, while many people resorted to selling their farms and properties.

The activist indicated that a number of businessmen now prefer to leave Tihama fearing for their lives, which prompted the militias to deploy new customs checkpoints between Hodeidah, Sanaa and Ibb.

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