Political Analysis

Wanted militant surrenders to Saudi Arabia

Riyadh—A former Guantanamo prisoner who finished a Saudi rehabilitation program then joined al-Qaida network in Yemen has surrendered to Saudi authorities, the Kingdom’s Interior Ministry said Friday.

Jaber Jabran al-Fayfi was included in a list of 85 wanted militants issued by the kingdom in February, 2009.

According to a statement by the ministry’s spokesman carried by SPA news agency, Fayfi “expressed regret…and voiced willingness to return home and give himself up to security agencies.”

“The concerned agencies coordinated with the security authorities in Yemen, which secured his return to the kingdom, where he was reunited with his family,” the statement said.

Fayfi was one of Saudi prisoners repatriated from the U.S. Guantanamo detention camp to join a rehabilitation program. After completing the course, he fled to Yemen, where a presence of al- Qaida is growing.

A senior Saudi security official said in June that about 25 out of 120 former Saudi detainees from Guantanamo Bay camp returned to militancy after passing a rehabilitation program for al-Qaida militants in the kingdom. Around 11 of those released have gone to Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has enrolled the ex-Guantanamo detainees along with other al-Qaida suspects in a rehabilitation program which included ideological review by clerics and financial aid to help them start over.

The project was attended by about 300 extremists.

Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally in the Middle East and the world’s top oil producer and exporter, has been battling Islamist militants, spearheaded by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), since they launched a spate of bombings and shootings in May 2003.