The Iran-backed Houthi insurgents who took over Yemen tried putting a $100,000 bounty on the head of recently deposed President Abd Mansour Hadi, who has been forced to flee the country. Vocativ reports that considerably larger rewards have now been posted for the capture of Houthi leader Abdel Malik al-Houthi and the previous president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has thrown in with the rebels.
There is quite a bit of money to be made for capturing al-Houthi: $280,000 from the deputy head of general security in Dubai, plus a whopping $10 million from a Yemeni businessman living in Malaysia named Anwar Hamid. Hamid is also willing to pony up $10 million for Saleh, so that’s $20,280,000 for the enterprising bounty hunter who can bag them both. Note that both bounties specify that al-Houthi and Saleh must be delivered alive.
“Yemen is the Arab world’s poorest country. Unemployment is high and almost half the population lives under the poverty line. To the average Yemeni, the bounty would be a significant fortune,” writes Vocativ. “When announcing his bounty, Hamid said the dollar amount would serve as an added incentive for young people in particular to try to find Houthi or Saleh.”
Actually, ten million dollars is a significant fortune almost anywhere. In Yemen, it might be enough to turn a group of insiders against al-Houthi or Saleh. What an odd ending — or, more realistically, odd chapter — in the Yemen mess that would be.