Saudi reportedly to raze empty villages on Yemen border

#YemenWar

The villages were abandoned during fighting at the border between 2009-2010 that saw 15,000 locals relocated

An abandoned house, damaged during fighting at the Yemen-Saudi border in 2010 (AFP)
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Sunday 5 April 2015 16:15 UTC
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Saudi Arabia will raze 96 deserted border villages to prevent their use by infiltrators from neighbouring Yemen, where the kingdom is leading air strikes on Houthi militias, a report said Sunday.

Ten villages have already been demolished since a Saudi-led military coalition began air strikes on Houthi militias on 26 March, the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper reported.

It cited the border guard chief in the area, Hassan Aqili, as saying that the move was to prevent the empty houses from turning into "a safe haven for traffickers and infiltrators".

The 15,000 inhabitants were resettled following a 2009-2010 conflict that saw Houthis cross into Saudi Arabia from their stronghold in northern Yemen.

A Saudi resident, living close to the border with Yemen, told MEE this week that 60 villages were razed during that time and the residents are now about 50km from where they once lived.

"They are suffering from material hardship and government marginalisation," the resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said.

Among those still living at the border between the two countries, he added, there is a concern that the current conflict will see them displaced as well. 

Three Saudi border guards have been shot dead by gunfire from within Yemen since Riyadh launched air raids against the Houthis.