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Nearly $76bn of Yemen’s oil, gas revenues looted in six years of Saudi-led war: Yemeni minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Yemeni oil worker looks out at the Aden oil refinery after it was re-activated on September 5, 2016, following a year of closure due to the ongoing Saudi-led military campaign.

Yemen’s minister of oil and minerals has said more than $76 billion of Yemen’s oil and gas revenues has been looted since the beginning of the Saudi-led war on the Arab country.

“The value of oil and gas revenues looted by the invading forces in Yemen in six years is more than 19 trillion Yemeni rials (nearly $76 billion),” Ahmad Abdullah Dares told Yemen’s al-Masirah television network on Friday.

Dares explained that the looted revenues include 1.3 trillion rials (some $5 billion) of the Ma’rib oil refinery’s revenues and 1.3 trillion rials of domestic natural gas revenues.

He added that Yemen’s loss as a result of the disruption of its liquefied gas production has reached 2.7 trillion rials (nearly $11 billion).

The remarks came days after the Yemeni Petroleum Company (YPC) announced that the Saudi-led coalition has released two out of ten seized fuel ships belonging to the war-torn country.

In a statement on Wednesday, the YPC quoted tanker shipping firms as saying that the war coalition is still holding eight Yemeni tankers carrying fuel meant for public consumption.

Last month, the executive director of the YPC announced that the total damage caused by the seizure of Yemeni tankers has reached $34.5 million this year.

The popular Ansarullah movement, which is running state affairs in the capital Sana’a, said the Saudi-led coalition and the self-proclaimed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have seized the vessels carrying fuel and prevented them from entering the port of Hudaydah, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

The seizure of Yemeni tankers has caused a fuel shortage over the past months in Yemen, which has been described by the United Nations as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. It has knocked out generators and water pumps in hospitals and disrupted aid supplies across the country.

Back in July 2020, Dares said Saudi Arabia and its mercenaries had looted some 48 million barrels of Yemen’s crude oil in previous years.

He said they had stolen 18 million barrels only in 2018, and another 29.5 million in 2019, adding that the invaders continue to loot Yemen’s oil, while the Yemeni people remain in dire need of fuel and oil derivatives under the Saudi blockade of their country.

In his Friday interview, the Yemeni minister pointed out that the invading countries focused on stealing public revenues with the aim of strangling the Yemeni people and undermining their resistance.

“Oil and gas revenues are the right of all Yemeni people, and we will not be silent about such organized and continued looting,” he asserted.

The devastating war on Yemen was launched by Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies in March 2015, with arms and logistics support from the US and some other Western states.

Six years since the Yemeni carnage, the coalition has miserably failed to reach its goals, which were to restore the Riyadh-friendly Hadi regime and crush the Ansarullah movement.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed during the coalition’s attacks or as a result of the ongoing aggression and blockade against Yemen. People in Yemen also face increasing risks of disease and starvation as a result of the war.

A recent report by a UK-based NGO said that at least a quarter of all civilian casualties from the war in Yemen in two years have been children, with at least 2,341 confirmed deaths and injuries of children in Yemen between 2018 and 2020.

The report, published by Save the Children last month, revealed that 1.8 million children under five were currently suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, while almost 400,000 children under five were suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

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