How Houthis don't miss out on fishing in troubled Yemeni waters

How Houthis don't miss out on fishing in troubled Yemeni waters

Anwar Sayf, a 30-year-old mason, has lived one of his life's "severest dramas this month" in his own country. "There was more and more shortage of work in Sayoon (in southeastern Yemen) where I had been working for two years. At the beginning of this month I decided to come back to my village and endure poverty with my family," he says. "But Houthis, using the corona infection fears, were holding back hundreds of passengers in Radaa (an internal border checkpoint in central Yemen) to allegedly verify they are corona-free and that we were not fighting with the government against them." "After three days spent waiting and sleeping in uncomfortable conditions around the checkpoint, I heard people murmuring there was a way out of the detention. (Houthi) armed tribesmen demand 1000 Saudi Riyals (equivalent to $266) to allow you pass through the checkpoint on a motorbike," says Anwar whose last name given above is not real for the sake of "anonymity."  

"Coronavirus has not yet come to Yemen. Houthis are never serious in their claims they are worried about the spread of infections since no health workers come to check the passengers in the checkpoint and allow the corona-free to leave," he says. "It is only a matter of exploiting the mass return of miserable workers from Sayoon and Marib to their villages (under Houthi control) due the shortage of work opportunities."

Very few people, especially those who are coming from Saudi Arabia, afforded to pay the Houthis and were let go.

A twenty22-year-old political science student in the government-held Marib who wants to be identified as "Abdullah Hassan" ssaid he came back from the Houthi checkpoint to Marib city for "I could not afford to pay $1000 to the militants." "I am really fed up of this country," he says. "The Houthis make an opportunity of every distress we face."

"They made the most use of Yemen's – actually the world's – worst humanitarian crisis. They stole humanitarian aid to Yemen and the UN is a witness on that," he quips. "Now we miserable students and workers  are afraid of Houthi attempts to attack Marib and are suffering shortage of maintenance funds more and more here, so we want to return to our villages," he continues, "But the Houthis are not going to let these troubled waters go without fishing from them." "Using the coronavirus panic, they are holding back passengers and making huge amounts of money to allow people to continue their internal travels between their held and government-held areas."

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