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The New Arab

Hundreds stranded after Saudi ban on 4x4 vehicles entering Yemen

Only one border crossing remains open between Yemen and the Saudi kingdom [Twitter]

Date of publication: 7 July, 2018

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Saudi authorities have banned Yemenis attempting to cross into the war-torn country by road from using 4x4 vehicles, local sources told The New Arab.

Yemeni residents of Saudi Arabia attempting to cross into the war-torn country via the only border opening with the kingdom have been left stranded after Saudi authorities banned 4x4 vehicles from entering Yemen, sources told The New Arab.

Travellers heading into Yemen via the al-Wadi'a border crossing have been left stranded at the crossing since Thursday, when Saudi authorities issued the sudden and unusual announcement.

A Yemeni resident of Saudi Arabia who was embarking on the days-long journey to the capital Sanaa said her family was forced to stop-over in a city just two hours away from Riyadh after hearing news of the ban.

"Most of those left stranded went back to Sharourah. All the hotels there are fully booked," she told The New Arab, referring to the Saudi border town.

"Those who can't afford to do so are staying at the border with no food, no water, nothing. It's heartbreaking," she added.

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in Riyadh issued a statement confirming that it is following up the issue with relevant authorities, urging its nationals living in the kingdom to avoid travelling to Yemen with their four-wheel-drive vehicles and other heavy equipment.

No reason was given by Saudi authorities for the ban but the embassy statement said it would enquire on how long the decision is due to be implemented.

"Nobody knows what is going on, there are lots of rumours flying around. We hope to hear something official from authorities soon," the source added.

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have lived and worked in Saudi Arabia for decades, but the residents have suffered under a series of Saudi measures that have resulted in tens of thousands of people being forced to leave the kingdom.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition fighting Houthi rebels who overran the capital and other major cities. 

The deadly war has killed more then 10,000 people and forced hundreds of thousands more to flee their homes in what the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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