The United States sent two Libyans from its detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Senegal earlier this week.
U.S. State Department officials called the move a “humanitarian resettlement.”
“The United States is grateful to the government of Senegal for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the Defense Department said.
The Libyans were identified as Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby and Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar. They had been jailed at the detention center 14 years without facing charges.
Both men were opponents of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Khalif was captured in Karachi in early 2002. Ghereby was detained in late 2001 along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama is working to close the Guantanamo Bay prison before he leaves office next January. Republican members of Congress oppose the closing.
The U.S. military has used the prison to hold terror suspects since the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington.
The detainees started arriving in January 2002. In all, 779 prisoners have been held at Guantanamo Bay.
More than 100 detainees have been resettled in 26 countries.
One detainee has been freed. Another is serving a life sentence in prison after standing trial in the United States.
Jim Dresbach adapted this VO news story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
grateful – adj. thankful; feeling or showing kindness
gesture – n. a movement, usually one to express an idea or meaning