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Houthi militias step in against money transfers from Saudi Arabia

Published: Updated:

Sources in the Yemeni capital Sanaa told Al Arabiya that Houthi and Saleh militias are taking measures to limit the money transfers of Yemeni expatriates, most of which are from Saudi Arabia. These transfers contribute to saving millions from poverty and famine after the war waged by militias against legitimate government forces since late 2014.

According to sources, the militias informed them about the new instructions and conditions regarding the money transfers coming from Saudi Arabia. The sources are concerned about the intentions of the militiamen who will put an end to what is left of the collapsed economy of Yemen, which is revived by the transfers of Yemenis in Saudi Arabia.

The militias have recently deployed armed rebels at the main money exchanges and finance companies in Sanaa, and are questioning those who receive transfers from Saudi Arabia, as has happened with Mohammed S. who was surprised by the measures after receiving a money transfer from one of his relatives in Saudi Arabia, a transfer that has become the only financial source for his family since the eruption of the war.

“As soon as I received the transfer, two Houthi gunmen started interrogating me for half an hour and took all my personal details. I was afraid because there was no valid reason behind their actions,” said Mohammed.

Employees held

Yemeni exchange staff told al-Arabiya that some of the employees inthe exchanges and companies in Sanaa were arrested by the militias, who accused them of handing over salaries to “agents”, despite being regular transfers from expatriates to their families.

It is difficult to find a family in Yemen that does not benefit directly or indirectly from remittances from expatriates, 80 percent of whom are in Saudi Arabia. The economic figures estimate that there are more than 3 million expatriates in Saudi Arabia and their transfers exceeded $5 billion after more than two years of war.

The measures taken by the militias were reflected in the rapid decline in the exchange rate of the Yemeni riyal, which reached 96 Yemeni riyals for 1 Saudi Riyal, after being steady for a period of time at the 92 Yemeni riyals rate.

Local economists fear any further action by the militias against expatriates’ transfers from Saudi Arabia, the sole reason that the country’s shattered economy and tens of thousands of families have survived till now.