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Saudi Arabia evacuates students from restive Yemen

Saudi nationals are still studying at the UST, and no one has left the university so far, according to Meshni

Published: Updated:

The Saudi Higher Education Ministry has issued instructions to evacuate 60 Saudi students who are studying at the University of Science and Technology (UST) in Sanaa due to the country’s volatile security situation, reports said on Tuesday.

Mohammed Ali Meshni, director of the Public Relations and Media Department at the UST, was quoted as saying by the Yemen Times that the Saudi Embassy sent letters to all universities in Yemen announcing the evacuation of Saudi students.

The Saudi authorities have stopped dispatching Saudi nationals to study in Yemen after Mohammed Al-Katheri, a 23-year-old Saudi national studying in UST was killed in Yemen in 2011.

Saudi nationals are still studying at the UST, and no one has left the university so far, according to Meshni.

However, Yemeni students at the UST, who spoke to the Yemen Times on condition of anonymity, said that several Saudi students have traveled to Saudi Arabia more than a week ago.

The Kingdom issued orders on Monday to shut down its embassy in Sanaa and evacuate Saudi nationals from Yemen.

“Orders were given to shut down the Saudi Embassy in Sanaa and evacuate all officials and employees in the embassy until the situation in Yemen improves,” Arabic language newspaper Al-Watan cited a Saudi diplomat as saying.

“The charge d’affairs [acting ambassador] at the Saudi Embassy to Yemen, Haza’a Al-Mutairi, along with 50 other Saudi nationals working in the embassy left Sanaa late Sunday,” said the diplomat.

The embassy’s closure follows growing tensions between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels in Sanaa.

The closure of the embassy affects Yemeni residents who want to get visas to work in Saudi Arabia.

Abdulaziz Ali, a resident from Taiz, told the Yemen Times that he wants to get a visa to work in Saudi Arabia but now he will have to wait until the embassy re-opens. This is not the first time the embassy has closed down.

The embassy closed down for a short period in March 2012 after Abulla Al-Khaledi, the Saudi Deputy Consul in Sanaa, was kidnapped in March 18, 2012.

On Tuesday, Houthi rebels tried to storm the cabinet building in Sanaa A security source said marchers “tried by force to storm the cabinet, so the forces guarding it undertook their legal duty to stop them.”

Protesters have blocked the main road to Sanaa’s airport and have held sit-ins for weeks at ministries.

“The Houthi group may not and cannot continue its escalation and its disturbance of the public tranquility and the undermining of security and stability in the capital,” President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014.