The Houthi Checkpoints along the Travel Route in Ma’rib and Al Bayda are Extortion to Expatriates
Along the travel route linking between Ma’rib Governorate and Al Bayda Governorate where the Houthis hold and control major points along these roads, until Abu Hashim Checkpoint in Rada’a Town, which is notorious for extortion and plunder of the expatriates returning to the areas under their control. As the Houthi Group, through its personnel patrolling in these points, blackmails the expatriates reverting from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the several Gulf States to their hometowns, as they plunder and loot their money under flimsy arguments, most notably of which is the support of what they so-called aggression.
Because of this, the expatriate, Mutawakel Q. said that he was returning from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to his Governorate Ibb, as he had a reasonable amount of money. However, he was surprised to find the multiple Houthi checkpoints on the roads; and no sooner had he arrived at the first checkpoint near the outskirts of Ma’rib City, than they started to ask him many irrelevant questions, and asked him to get out of his car. Nevertheless, having implored them, one of the checkpoint personnel talked to him privately and asked for money to please Abu Saleh, to let him pass without any obstacles.
Mutawakel added, “I paid the money as they asked, and I thought that the situation was over. However, after just a few miles, I arrived at another checkpoint and the situation was the same as the first checkpoint, extortion and excises; and if I rejected to pay, they could accuse me of supporting the aggression, which is their pretext to involve the innocents, as he described it.
Claims for Service
Upon reaching a Houthi checkpoint, one of the personnel from that checkpoint comes to you and asks you to pay an amount of money in consideration of their service on the road, as if they are providing services to you, as the expatriate A. M. exclaimed. He also added, “We are required to pay for the services in favour of that personnel at the checkpoints, asking: Whom are they serving? And what are the services they provide to us?” He also added, “The roads have not been paved so far, and we suffer from multiple potholes along the road, in addition to the restrictions made against us on the roads and the dense Houthi checkpoints.
Furthermore, the expatriate, Mujahed Mohamed shares the same view, as he said, “The Houthi Group has exploited the large number of expatriates reverting to their hometowns in the Holy Month of Ramadan as a season for collecting money from them. As well as tightening the procedures against them at the checkpoints to blackmail them, and whoever refuses to pay, they have a tailored offence for him, namely, standing on the side of their so-called aggression. He added, “They are truly the aggressors, as they attacked people, and they were those who went to fight the people of Ma’rib under the pretext of their loyalty to aggression, and they fight the Yemeni people and tighten their ways of living claiming that they support the internal front.”
Abu Hashim Checkpoint: extortion of different type
After enormous suffering, the expatriate then arrives at the notorious checkpoint in terms of extortion and plunder of expatriates and detention of innocents, as well as their imprisonment in the citadel prison at Rada’a Town, Dhamar Governorate. This checkpoint takes a different turn in terms of blackmail and plunder of the expatriates, where they conduct a tedious investigation and inspection against them, to intimidate the expatriates and force them to pay what they order so that their luggage remains intact.
In this context, the expatriate, Mohamed H., said, “We have reached this checkpoint and we had large amounts of luggage, and they asked us to take out our entire luggage, while we were so tired of travel and extortion of the previous checkpoints. We tried to persuade them to avoid that, but they rejected and asked us to empty our luggage. However, once we started to empty it, a person came to us dicker overpaying amounts up to 50 thousand Yemeni Riyals, so that our luggage remain intact.
He sorrowfully added, “Indeed, we have accepted that since it was the most suitable for us than emptying our luggage, it took us hours to pack and carry it.
Therefore, it is an endless suffering and multiple devious ways adopted by the Houthi militias to tighten the procedures and blackmail the expatriates reverting to their hometowns that are subject to their control, and to add that to its previous record of robbery and plunder of the resources and gains of the Yemeni people.