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Rift with rebels widens after call to seize Saleh’s wealth

Such a move will likely add to growing tension between the two allies

Gulf News

Al Mukalla: A leading figure of Al Houthi movement has suggested seizing part of the ousted president’s wealth to pay government salaries and relieve the country’s economic problems.

Mohammad Al Bukhaiti, a member of the Al Houthi political bureau, said on his Facebook page that the movement and the public should pressure Ali Abdullah Saleh to relinquish part of his wealth to their government as to pay months of unpaid salaries.

“This would solve problems of salaries, poverty, famine.” Al Bukhaiti said, adding that Saleh possesses billions of dollars while Yemenis die of hunger and diseases.

Such a move will likely add to growing tension between the two allies who teamed up and carried out a coup against the legitimate government in 2014.

The cash-strapped rebels have been accused by Saleh supporters of creating a rationale in order to confiscate his money—they have done this to Hamed Al Ahmar, a telecom and banking tycoon and Yemeni vice president Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar.

The rebels stand accused of plundering Yemen’s central bank assets to fund their war effort.

The UN estimates Saleh’s net worth to be $32 to $60 billion—an amount he amassed ruling the country since 1978 before he was ousted in Arab Spring protests in 2011.

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Taiz, residents said that two civilians, including a 60-year-old woman, were killed on Tuesday afternoon when a rocket fired by Al Houthi militants exploded in a residential area in Taiz’s Al Marba’a region.

For more than two years, Al Houthis have imposed a siege on the country’s fifth largest city to weaken local army troops and allied tribesmen.

Government forces have recently scored gains on the ground and have taken control of the city’s presidential palace and two military camps.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Al Houthi heavy shelling on the city’s downtown.

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