Yemenis account for most infiltrators

Updated 15 August 2013
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Yemenis account for most infiltrators

Saudi Border Guards have arrested 259,296 infiltrators — 70 percent of them Yemenis — on the southern border.
Border Guards also apprehended 4,343 smugglers, according to the General Directorate of Border Guards. Border Guards arrested 77,508 infiltrators during the month of Shabaan, 33,005 in Rabi Al-Thani, 25,553 in Muharram, 21,378 in Safar, 28,816 in Rabi Al-Awwal, 26,413 in Jumada Al-Awwal, 24,344 in Jumada Al-Thani and 22,279 infiltrators in Rajab.
In the case of smugglers, the break-up is as follows: 615 smugglers in Rabi Al-Awwal, 607 in Jumada Al-Thani, 489 in Muharram, 537 in Safar, 554 in Rabi Al-Thani, 526 in Jumada Al-Awwal, 533 in Rajab and 478 in Shabaan.
Border Guard Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al-Ghamdi said: “Our inspectors do not check illegal women infiltrators. We have women inspectors to check illegal women who try to enter Saudi borders. A number of neighboring Arab countries are faced with bad economic and security situations, which was the major cause for attempted infiltration.”
With political unrest and growing insecurity in Yemen, there are fears in Saudi Arabia that infiltration attempts by Yemenis into the Kingdom may reach unprecedented levels.
There are also fears that smugglers may increase their activities along the common border, not to mention the many Yemenis who want to escape from war and come to the Kingdom for safety.
“We have dug trenches, fixed barbed wire, planted thermal cameras, introduced the system of fingerprinting (for immigrants) and intensified surveillance by security patrols in a bid to prevent infiltration,” said a border guard who preferred anonymity. “The nature of terrain of the border areas makes it difficult for the two sides to control smuggling operations.”
Yemeni expatriate Ahmad Abdullah, who lives in Jazan, said: “The difficult conditions prevailing in Yemen force people to take the risk of crossing into Saudi Arabia illegally."
He said Yemenis often start their gamble from the Yemeni village of Tawwal, about 100 meters from the border and 80 km from Jazan.
“There are human traffickers who know the area extremely well,” Abdullah said. “They know routes that are difficult for the Saudi Border Guard to discover.”


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

Updated 24 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of the Qiddiya Project

  • Qiddiya Project is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom
  • The first phase will be completed by 2022

RIYADH: Saudi King Salman will launch the construction of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh Wednesday, authorities said, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversity its oil-reliant economy.
The 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, would rival Walt Disney and include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari park, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger said he expects the project will draw foreign investors in entertainment and other sectors, but did not specify the total cost of construction.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a self-styled liberal change agent who is the chief architect of the sweeping “Vision 2030” reform program.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with several plans for hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but some skeptics question their viability in an era of cheap oil.
The Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Analysts say the projects could create funding pressures at a time when the government faces a yawning budget deficit and growth in the Kingdom’s non-oil economy is only slowly gathering pace.
The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced it will stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.