Washington has transferred six inmates from its Guantanamo Bay prison to Oman, the Pentagon said on Saturday, as part of a drive by President Barack Obama to close the controversial jail.
“The United States is grateful to the government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” a statement said.
It named the six men as Idris Ahmad Abd Al Qadir Idris, Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Masud, Jalal Salam Awad Awad, Saad Nasser Moqbil Al Azani, Emad Abdallah Hassan and Muhammad Ali Salem Al Zarnuki.
The Omani foreign ministry said all six were Yemeni.
The move comes weeks after US and UK diplomats held talks with leaders of Yemen’s Houthi movement who have captured large swathes of territory in the country since last year.
During those talks, American freelance journalist Casey Coombes was released from captivity in Yemen where the Houthis were thought to have held him.
The men arrived in the sultanate on Saturday for a “temporary stay,” said a ministry statement carried by the official ONA news agency. It did not elaborate on their subsequent travel plans.
The transfer means 116 inmates remain at the prison at a US naval base in southeastern Cuba.
Saturday’s announcement marked the second Guantanamo prisoner transfer this year, after the Pentagon announced in January that is had moved four Yemeni detainees to Oman and another to Estonia.
SOURCE: Middle East Eye