Banks in Yemen city to close for three days after robberies

DUBAI (Reuters) - Banks in the Yemeni city of Aden will close for three days from Monday and suspend clearing services in protest after a spate of armed robberies, the 12 lenders said in a letter to the central bank.

Robbers armed with assault rifles raided a branch of Al-Ahli bank in Aden on Thursday, wounding a banker and a security guard, local media reported, after similar assaults in the southern province.

“We hope there will be a serious response to the attack and the perpetrators will get arrested and tried,” the letter said, demanding more protection.

The city is under the control of the Security Belt, a southern force taking part in a civil war that has killed more than 10,000 people. Cholera and famine have also spread in the impoverished country.

Aden is nominally the seat of the internationally-recognized government although the president and other cabinet members live in Saudi Arabia for security concerns due to attacks by Islamist militants.

A coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by U.S. arms and intelligence, has waged a nearly two-year-old campaign on behalf of Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which the Houthi movement - allied with Saudi’s arch-foe Iran - is battling to dislodge.

The letter also said the banks would suspend clearing operations and threatened to take more measures if authorities did not respond by protecting local branches. A copy was also sent to Aden’s governor.

Writing By Aziz El Yaakoubi; editing by Susan Thomas