Most arms were seized on the Saudi-Yemeni border; seizures come amid attempts by foreign agents to organize terrorist attacks in the Kingdom, official says
Over 6,000 smuggling attempts foiled; seizures include more than 3,500 small arms, light weapons and ammunition and over 18 million narcotic pills, 22 tonnes of cannabis and 2,311 tonnes of khat
RIYADH, December 1, 2017 – Saudi Border Guards have foiled more than 6,000 weapons and drugs smuggling attempts over the past Hijri year, the Ministry of Interior has revealed.
The Ministry’s General Directorate of Border Guards said that the 6,447 smuggling attempts resulted in the arrests of 4,656 suspects and the seizure of more than 3,550 small arms and light weapons units along with ammunition, over 18 million narcotic-drugs pills, more than 22 tonnes of cannabis and over 2,311 tonnes of khat drug and a small amount of opium.
Most of the arms were seized on the Saudi-Yemeni border. These incidents come amid attempts by foreign agents to organize terrorist attacks inside the Kingdom, Major General Mansour Al-Turki, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior said during a media briefing on Wednesday.
“Attempts to smuggle military-grade weapons into Saudi Arabia are directly linked to terrorist intentions. The Border Guards therefore serve as the first line of defence when it comes to preventing extremists from acquiring means to launch large-scale attacks in the Kingdom. We work in close coordination with other partners to ensure the security and safety of our citizens at all times,” the Major General said.
According to the official report, the Border Guards foiled attempts to smuggle small arms as well as military-grade light weapons, including 1,804 pistols, 406 machine guns, 113 rifles, two RPG launchers, six RPG shells, three anti-tank missiles and 1,137 other weapons. The guards also seized 46 mines, 21 high-intensity explosives and 21 other explosive devices, in addition to 645,564 rounds of live ammunition.
The Border Guards reported on the period that corresponds to October 2, 2016 to September 21, 2017.
Over half of those arrested are Yemeni nationals, while others detained at the borders for smuggling attempts include Saudis as well as citizens of Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, the Philippines, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Bangladesh.
The Border Guards also intercepted 3,559 cross-border infiltration attempts by 27,264 individuals, of whom 26,047 were trying to enter Saudi Arabia illegally.
The work of the General Directorate of Border Guards includes dealing with smuggling and infiltration attempts, search and rescue operations, supervising fishing and other marine activities, maintaining seaport security and inspecting maritime accidents and violations.