Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Saudi Security apparatus has revealed that it has arrested over 65,000 illegal immigrants and 1,084 smugglers attempting to illegally enter Saudi Arabia during the second quarter of 2008. Items seized by the Saudi Security apparatus include weapons, ammunition, bomb components, dynamite, as well as large quantities of hashish and other illegal substances.
Director of the Border Guard, Major General Zamim Bin Juwaibir al-Sawwat informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the large number of illegal immigrants arrested in such a short period of time is evidence of the Border Guard’s vigilance against attempts to unlawfully gain entry onto Saudi Arabian soil. General al-Sawwat also revealed that Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz had signed a contract with the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company [EADS] to build a security fence along Saudi Arabian borders, using the latest security technology to bolster the already high-level of security present in the country.
For his part, Major Salem al-Selmi, Director of the Border Guard’s Public Relations department, clarified that the arrest of the illegal immigrants and smugglers was as a result of fieldwork on the ground along Saudi Arabia’s borders, along with constant radar surveys and border patrols to protect the illegal entry onto Saudi Arabian soil. Al-Selmi added that the smugglers and illegal immigrants were unlawfully entering Saudi Arabian territory in a number of different ways, from walking on foot and riding small animals, to illegally entering by car or boat. Al-Selmi also stated that the largest proportion of illegal immigrants are apprehended while attempting to cross into the Jizan region [along the border with Yemen]. In addition to this, there are those who attempt to unlawfully enter Saudi Arabia by boat from neighboring countries that suffer from instability and war.
In the second quarter of 2008, the Border Guard revealed that the majority of illegal immigrants are Yemeni nationals, and that of the 65,381 illegal immigrants arrested during this period of time, 48,637 were Yemeni nationals. The other illegal immigrants arrested during this period included Iraqi nationals, Ethiopians, Somalis, Eritreans, Sudanese, and Afghans. The Border Guard also revealed that in just the second quarter of 2008 it had confiscated approximately 1,724 kg of hashish, 471,098 narcotic pills, 660,884 kg of khat, 10 bombs, 50 sticks of dynamite, 50 bomb components, 115 different weapons, 19,006 bullets, 3,104 bottles of wine, 564 bottles of beer, 87 litres of alcohol, 7,022 livestock, as well as a number of cars.
The construction of the 8,500 km fence will protect Saudi Arabia’s borders. This will be the largest venture of its kind in the region; and the fence will utilize the latest communication and security technology and aid the Border Guard in protecting Saudi Arabia’s borders. The project will include creating a system of security posts and surface and aerial monitoring of Saudi land and sea borders to ensure protection. This project will take place alongside a venture to develop the operations of the Border Guard itself; this development project will include improving the rapid response capabilities of the Guard.