Saudi Tightens Border Controls After Yemen Conflict

By Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones
December 7, 2009 Updated: December 7, 2009

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—Saudi officials caught 821 Yemenis attempting to sneak into the country over the past two weeks through the disputed border provinces.

Saudi forces have renewed their vigilance to illegal immigration in the areas where they are fighting Yemeni Huthi rebels, the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported Dec. 5.

Security sources quoted by the newspaper did not specify whether or not the immigrants were refugees, economic migrants, or fugitives from the conflict zone.

On Nov. 3 Huthi rebels made incursions into the Saudi Jizan Province, sparking the country’s largest military response since the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

Although conflict has died down in the region, Riyadh fears that Yemeni al-Qaeda brigades have been able to smuggle militants and weapons across the porous borders in order to plot attacks against Saudi targets.

Inhabitants in a six-mile zone on the Saudi side have been cleared from the area in a bid to tighten border controls, the newspaper reported.