Defense Department Takes Custody of a High-Value Detainee -- 2007-04-27
Accused Terrorist Transferred to Guantanamo Facility
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2007 – An accused terrorist believed to have helped al Qaeda groups in Africa obtain arms has been transferred to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Abdullahi Sudi Arale was detained in the Horn of Africa region recently, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today. He is suspected of being a courier between the al Qaeda network in East Africa and al Qaeda in Pakistan.
Arale is considered an enemy combatant and a high-value detainee, Whitman said.
Since his return from Pakistan to Somalia in September 2006, he has held a leadership role in the organization set up to challenge the transitional government in the country.
Defense officials said Arale has been assisting various East Africa al Qaeda-affiliated extremists in acquiring weapons and explosives. He also has helped facilitate extremist travel by providing false documents for terrorists traveling into Somalia.
Arale played a significant role in the emergence of the Council of Islamic Courts in Mogadishu. The courts have evolved into a quasi-governmental entity with troops and weaponry. They controlled Mogadishu and most of southern Somalia, but left after Ethiopian troops entered the country in December.
Arale joins about 385 detainees in the Guantanamo facility, Whitman said, adding that he will be questioned about his al Qaeda dealings. Many detainees at the facility have provided information essential to understanding how al Qaeda operates and preventing future attacks, Whitman said.
Arale will go through a combatant status review tribunal, in which he will be given the opportunity to review an unclassified summary of evidence against him and contest his enemy-combatant status. The International Committee of the Red Cross will be granted access to him.