WASHINGTON Two more prisoners in the U.S. fight against al Qaeda were transferred from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to countries that agreed to take them on humanitarian grounds, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Sixteen Guantanamo inmates have been transferred to countries in the Middle East and elsewhere since the start of the year as the administration presses ahead with efforts to try to close the military prison before the end of President Barack Obama's term.
The Pentagon notified Congress in December that it was preparing to transfer a total of 17 inmates. Ian Moss, chief of staff for the State Department's Guantanamo envoy, which negotiates all transfers, said one prisoner, a Yemeni man, "declined to accept a resettlement offer."
The transfers on Thursday brought the Guantanamo prison population to 91, the Pentagon said.
Those transferred included Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al Sawah, a 58-year-old Egyptian-born Bosnian man, who was taken by the Bosnian government. Al Sawah had been held at Guantanamo for more than 13 years and had health issues, according to leaked Defense Department documents.
Abd al-Aziz Abduh Abdallah Ali Al-Suwaydi, a 41-year-old Yemeni man, was transferred to Montenegro. He also had been held at Guantanamo for more than 13 years.
(Reporting by David Alexander and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
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