Sanaa web-1570089483537
A view of old building is seen in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Yemen’s Iran-aligned Al Houthi extremists are seeking to carry out a demographic change in the capital Sana’a that has been under their control for about five years, a Yemeni newspaper has disclosed.

The militants’ plan is based on bringing loyalists from the provinces of Hajjah in north-western Yemen, Saada in the far north, and Amran in the centre and re-settling them in Sana’a, independent online newspaper Aden Al Ghad said, citing local sources.

Al Houthi leaders have recently gone on a spree, buying plots of land and renting apartments in Sana’a at high prices, triggering a housing shortage in the city, according to the sources.

“Owners of land and apartments in Sana’a have taken advantage of the finances available to Al Houthis, who have plundered state revenues and imposed levies since their coup five years ago,” one source said.

In late 2014, Al Houthis unseated Yemen’s internationally recognised government and seized Sana’a, a city of around 1.9 million people.

In 2015, an Arab alliance led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, intervened in Yemen in response to a request from the internationally-recognised government there after Al Houthis advanced on the southern city of Aden, the country’s provisional capital.

The militants are blamed for ruining Yemen’s economy and pushing the impoverished country to the brink of famine.