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Saudi Arabia building hi-tech border fence

Work continues on frontier fortification with advanced technology equipped fences

Gulf News

Manama: Saudi Arabia border security forces both in the north and south of the kingdom are ready to deal with any situation, including shooting any infiltrators trying to cross into the country illegally, a security official has said.

“They are well prepared in light of the events unfolding in some of Saudi Arabia’s neighbouring countries and they have the authority to reciprocate and shoot any illegal infiltrators,” Mohammad Al Ghamdi, the spokesperson for the border security forces, said.

“The plan to secure the southern borders is moving forward. The first stage of the fence is over and the second stage of including modern technology in monitoring and tracking infiltrators is being implemented,” Al Ghamdi told Saudi daily Al Sharq Al Awsat.

The official added that the northern borders were secure and that the rate of infiltration into Saudi Arabia was nil, stressing that the modern technology used by the border patrols succeeded in tracking anyone trying to enter the kingdom illegally.

“We deal with infiltrators in the 20-kilometre no-man zone,” he said.

The tracking of infiltrators trying to enter the kingdom by using aeroplanes is coordinated with the interior ministry security aviation, he said.

On September 5, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud inaugurated the first phase of a border security barrier along the kingdom’s northern borders, stretching from Hafar Al Batin, near the Iraq-Kuwait border, to the northeast town of Turaif close to Jordan.

The Saudi Press Agency reported that the multilayered barrier runs along 900km of the northern border and consists of 50 radars, 78 monitoring towers, eight command centres, ten mobile surveillance vehicles, 38 night vision camera-equipped gates, 32 rapid-response centres, and three rapid intervention squads, all linked by a fibre-optic communications network.

The official news agency said that 3,397 people were being trained by 60 trainers to man the barrier.

The ten kilometre-deep barrier consists of a sand berm, two fences, and a patrol road that connects the various watchtowers and supporting facilities.

Saudi Arabia has said that fence would bring the “number of infiltrators, drug, arms and cattle smugglers to zero.”

The border programme is one of the huge steps taken by Saudi Arabia to protect its vast desert frontiers amid growing concern over deteriorating security situation in neighbouring countries.

Reports said that the idea of a border fence was first floated in the 1990s following the end of the first Gulf war (1991) to monitor and track infiltrators.

EADS (now Airbus Military and Space) in June 2009 said that it had won a contract for “the border security programme covering the full borders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, according to Jane’s.

The magazine reported that some of the equipment used at the borders can detect a person 19 kilometres away and a vehicle at 39 kilometres.

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