Middle East

Houthis killed 11 athletes during war: Yemeni minister

Sports minister accuses Houthis of seizing $7M from government

Shukri Hussain   | 28.01.2021
Houthis killed 11 athletes during war: Yemeni minister

SANAA 

Yemen’s Sports Minister Nayef al-Bakri said on Thursday that the Houthi group had killed 11 athletes and caused $2.8 billion in losses.

In a statement, al-Bakri said: "The Houthi group killed 11 athletes, including Ali Al-Saudi and Abdullah Arif Abd Rabbo, players of the national football team, in addition to destroying 87 sports facilities."

"The Houthis have also caused losses to the sports sector since the start of the war which equaled 222 billion Yemeni riyals [about $2.8 billion],” al-Bakri said.

The Yemeni minister accused the Houthi group of "seizing 6 billion Yemeni riyals [$7 million dollars] from the allocations of the Sanaa Youth Welfare Fund which caused 7,000 employees in the sports sector to lose their jobs."

It was not possible to obtain a comment from the Houthi group regarding the Yemeni minister's accusations but the group, on its part, accused government forces and the Arab coalition of targeting civilian installations in the areas they control.

According to Yemeni observers, the sports sector in Yemen suffers from destruction due to acts of vandalism in stadiums and gyms and the suspension of competitions as well as tournaments seven years ago.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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