A Yemeni boy rides a donkey in an impoverished coastal village on the outskirts of the rebel-held Yemeni port city city of Hodeida, where malnutrition has hit the population hard. Image Credit: AFP

Al Mukalla: Yemen’s government, currently based in the port city of Aden, said it began collecting tax and custom revenue from provinces and paid salaries of thousands of public servants.

The internationally recognised government has recently taken the onus of paying government salaries and servicing the country’s internal and foreign debt after moving the central bank headquarters from the Al Houthi-held Sana’a to Aden.

The move was meant to stop the rebel movement from using the facility’s reserves to finance their military effort. “We have started connecting the bank’s computer terminals with branches in other provinces. We have also started procedures of paying government salaries including those who live in Al Houthi-held areas,” Fahd Kafayen, Yemen’s Fisheries Minister, told Gulf News.

With shrinking revenue sources due to the current war against Al Houthis and their allied forces, the government predicted a big deficit in the budget and is moving to seek financial help from international donors. “The government is considering finding other sources of finance like foreign aids,” he said.

The minister said that the government would not pay public servants or military personnel who were employed after Al Houthis’ coup against president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi two years ago. “The government would cut off salaries of government employees who were added on the payroll after September 2014.” he said.

Similarly, the commander of Reserve Forces, previously known as the Republican Guard, Major General Sameer Al Haj said that only those Republican Guard soldiers who deserted the rebel-held provinces and joined the national army would receive salaries from Aden-based government. The Republican Guard forces have largely remained loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh even after he left office early 2012.

Meanwhile, security services in the southern province of Abyan launched multiple raids targeting Al Qaida hiding operatives in many cities, local officials and residents said on Tuesday. The raids are part of a big continuing operation to crack down on the militants who went into hiding after the government forces recaptured all cities in the once lawless province.

Officials said the main raids on Al Qaida hideouts were in the districts of Al Wadhea and Lowder. “Al Qaida operatives have sought refuge inside these two districts because of the rough geographical nature. It is easy for them to sneak into remote mountainous areas when security forces show up.” a senior army officer told Gulf News on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on record. The consecutive raids led to the arrest of a number of militants and unveiled arms depots. Army troops trained mainly by the UAE in August liberated all former Al Qaida bastions in the province of Abyan.