Ten Yemeni detainees were released this week from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba detention center and sent to Oman; this represents the largest number of detainees released in a single day, leaving less than 100 prisoners in the facility.
The White House announced Thursday that dozens more are scheduled for release.
News of the transfer was first reported by Middle Eastern news agencies — not U.S. media outlets — and later confirmed by the Department of Defense.
Fox News reported:
The administration is banned by law from transferring Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, given the risk in that country. Yemen is not only racked by civil war, but is the home of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. At least three previously released Guantanamo detainees have gone on to become leaders with AQAP in Yemen after leaving the camp.
Given that Oman neighbors Yemen, [Sen. Kelly] Ayotte described the move as a potential attempt to “circumvent” the congressional ban on sending prisoners to Yemen.
Among the detainees are Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel and Maqas Mohammed ali Awad, both described as high-risk al-Qaida members.
The New Hampshire Republican characterized the transfer as a “thinly veiled attempt to undercut the will of Congress and would further endanger the American people” due to Yemen’s proximity to Oman.
“This potential transfer is all the more troubling in light of the fact that Ibrahim al Qosi, who was released from Gitmo by the Obama administration in 2012, is now reportedly a leader and spokesman for AQAP,” Ayotte said, “…the administration has not been forthright with the American people about the terrorist affiliations and activities of these detainees, or provided sufficient assurances that they will not return to the battlefield, particularly given their possible proximity to Yemen.”
Watch the report via Fox News.
In addition to the 10, more are on the way out reported Reuters Thursday:
BREAKING: There are another 34 detainees at Guantanamo Bay approved for transfer, need ‘right place, right conditions’: White House
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 14, 2016
Folks on social media were appalled.
— Jay (@jay6018) January 14, 2016
Jihadist reinforcements on the way. Thanks Obama. https://t.co/5oNrJngXfY
— JOHN E. HUME (@JOHNEHUME) January 14, 2016
@Reuters It’s just Barack Hussein Obama letting some of his buddies get back to the fight is all.
— Greg (@who__dat) January 15, 2016
One person recalled the exchange of five Taliban chieftains for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal and tweeted:
What happened? Did we just get back 6.8 deserters? @Reuters
— Daniel Whelan (@dannybhoyo13) January 15, 2016
Another saw the “transfer” for what it was — a release.
— The Bucket Shop (@TheBucketShop) January 14, 2016
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