Authorities in south Yemen have banned the sale of the mild narcotic qat on working days, and it will be only allowed into the city of Aden on weekends, witnesses said Monday.
Checkpoints have been set up around Aden to stop qat shipments from entering the port city, as patrols roamed markets to enforce the ban on sales, the witnesses said.
Security forces said in a statement that they had decided to “ban the sale of qat in Aden and its suburbs during the week.”
The statement said the ban was prompted by complaints from citizens and due to “security, social and health” concerns, adding that qat markets caused traffic jams.
Aden has served as the temporary capital of Yemen since forces loyal to President AbdRabou Mansour Hadi recaptured it and four other southern provinces from Houthi rebels in the summer.
Chewing wads of the evergreen herb has a stimulant effect similar to drinking numerous cups of strong coffee, and it is part of the social fabric of Yemen.
This restriction on qat consumption was applied in the formerly independent south Yemen, before it united with the north in the 1990s.