Two men who were captured by the U.S. in Afghanistan and held at the base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for nearly 14 years without charge have been released and sent to this West African nation for resettlement, officials said Wednesday.
The two Yemenis are the first in a wave of 17 expected to be released this month as President Barack Obama’s administration seeks to whittle down the population of low-level prisoners as part of a broader effort, opposed by many in Congress, to close the detention center and move remaining detainees to the U.S. There are now 105 held at the Navy base, including nearly 50 who have been cleared for release.
Both of the men released Wednesday, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, were held as enemy combatants, accused of training with al-Qaida and fighting with the Taliban. They had been cleared for release in 2009, but the U.S. won’t send Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen because of instability there and officials had to find another country to accept them.