Cairo: The Yemeni government has accused Iran-aligned Al Houthis of “systematic destruction” of the country’s antiquities and looting its historical manuscripts.
Yemeni Information Minister Moammar Al Eryani said that the rebels have pillaged, smuggled and illegally sold artifacts, detonated archaeological sites and turned them into military facilities over recent years.
He added that Al Houthi leaders have smuggled thousands of artifacts and antique manuscripts looted from museums and archaeological places to outside the country.
The accusations were made by the official at a virtual culture meeting on Yemen co-organised by the UNESCO and the European Union.
“I expressed extreme concern over Al Houthi militia’s marginalisation and removal of technical and administrative staff at the Manuscripts Archives and allowing illegal and non-official sides to tamper with contents of the archives,” Al Eryani said in a series of tweets.
The official launched a call for international organisations and donors to help support culture in war-devastated Yemen.
Al Houthis plunged Yemen into a destructive war after they toppled the legitimate government and overran parts of the impoverished country including the capital Sana’a in late 2014.