Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Analog technology

"Infiltrators" are using donkeys to cross in to Saudi Arabia from Yemen:

Infiltrators along the long mountainous border with Yemen are using ingenuous methods to escape the attention of Saudi border guards. Their genius lies in the creative use to which they put a time-honored technology — donkeys.

According to a report in Al-Madinah Arabic daily, donkeys are trained to carry infiltrators along narrow mountain trails through the rugged terrain, well away from the main roads. The animals become expert at crossing and recrossing the border on their own, the paper said.

So popular have the animals become that donkey stations on the Yemeni side, run by smuggling rings, are turning a brisk profit.

“Crossing the border is very dangerous,” said a Yemeni who crossed the border on a donkey. “You use rugged tracks in the mountains at night. The people who helped me had years of experience smuggling people across, otherwise I wouldn’t have made it through.”

Zaid rented a donkey that appeared to know its own way. “Once you’ve crossed the border you let them go and they find their way back.”


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