Hodeida governor accuses Houthis of smuggling gold

Aden (Debriefer)
2019-05-26 | Since 1 Year

Hodeida Governor al-Hassan Tahir

اضغط هنا لقراءة الخبر بالعربية

Hodeida government-appointed governor has accused Houthi group of smuggling large masses of gold from the strategic Red Sea port city, which has been under rebel control since 2014.

"Based on collected information, the militias have chosen the suitable time, in Ramadan while under truce, to smuggle gold to Sana'a using the northern part of the city that is far from sight of national army," al-Hassan Tahir added in a statement to the Saudi Al-Arabiya TV.

The largest portion of the gold has been "misappropriated by the group from the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY), while some other has been stolen [by Houthis] from gold and jewelry sale points and from citizens at gunpoint," he claimed.

These actions come less than one month after Houthis had moved funds from the CBY in Hodeida to the capital of Sana'a, governor added.

"The city has been left with no financial sources to run its affairs and is now at the brink of bankruptcy after wasting the public property and looting private property," said Tahir, "in addition to the levies imposed on civilians already suffering bad economic conditions."

"Houthis will benefit from the smuggled gold and looted funds in reinforcing their defensive positions and increasing the balances of militia leaders."

Hodeida governor also accused the rebels of deploying massive military units,new fighters and snipers into the city and digging tunnels, as if they enhance positions and preparedness for confrontations.

Yemen has been racked by a 4-year bloody conflictbetween the internationally-recognized Yemeni government's forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who ousted the government in 2014.

Hodeida city and its ports have been under Houthi control since late 2014, while Yemeni joint forces loyal to legitimate government and Arab coalition have massed at the city's fringes since last November seeking to retake the strategic port.

Parties to the 4-year war in Yemen, after 8-day peace talks in Sweden, reached on the 13th of last December an agreement providing for ceasefire in Hodeida and redeployment of both sides' forces, exchanging prisoners and alleviating blockade imposed by Houthis on Taiz.

But none of this has taken place so far, with both sides trading blames for trying to thwart the deal.

On 13 May, Houthis said their forces had completed first phase of one-sided redeployment out of the ports of Salif, Ras Isa and Hodeida, under supervision by UN three teams, in application of the UN-brokered peace deal.

Officials at the Yemeni government, however, labeled the Houthi move as "misleading and farce".

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