Ten Yemeni men held at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. military detention center in Cuba were transferred to Oman on Thursday, bringing the number of remaining detainees at the prison below 100.
The transfer marks the largest single group of detainees moved out of the detention center since President Obama took office in 2009. Four other detainees have already been transferred this month as the Obama administration ramps up its efforts to close the facility before the president leaves office next year.
The Yemenis were all held for more than a decade without charge or trial, according to Reuters.
An Omani officials told the state news agency that the detainees had arrived and would remain there for humanitarian reasons until conditions in Yemen, which is crippled by civil war, allow them to return home.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter confirmed that the transfer came after a “deliberate and thoughtful review,” Reuters reported.
“We completed the transfer of 10 Yemenis — roughly 10 percent, that is, of the total remaining Gitmo population — to the government of Oman,” Mr. Carter told an audience at the U.S. military’s Southern Command, which oversees the military detention facility.
The prison population is now the lowest it has been since 2002, with just 93 detainees left.
The Pentagon released a list of the newly transferred detainees, they are: Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi, Samir Naji al-Hasan Muqbil, Adham Mohamed Ali Awad, Mukhtar Yahya Naji al-Warafi, Abu Bakr Ibn Muhammad al-Ahdal, Muhammad Salih Husayn al-Shaykh, Muhammad Said Salim Bin Salman, Said Muhammad Salih Hatim, Umar Said Salim al-Dini and Fahmi Abdallah Ahmad Ubadi al-Tulaqi.
Department of Defense Detainee Assessments published by The New York Times indicate that all of the detainees fought with al Qaeda or the Taliban and many of them served on Osama bin Laden’s security detail.