Yemen arrests 200 Al Qaida members

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

CAIRO Yemen reports the detention of about 200 Al Qaida insurgents in a drive against the Islamic movement.

Yemeni government spokesman Nasser Taha Mustafa said so far 35 of the 200 Al Qaida suspects have been released. Mustafa said the release came after the detainees were indoctrinated by clergymen aligned with the government.

The spokesman said that Yemeni relations with the United States were excellent, Middle East Newsline reported.

He said the two countries have engaged in a fruitful security cooperation. Washington understands and supports the Yemeni reform program launched in 1995, Mustafa said in an interview by the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat. He said Yemen's reform program was endorsed by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns during an international donor conference for Yemen, which took place in Paris in October 2002.

But Mustafa provided few details of the Yemeni arrests of suspected Islamic insurgents over the last few weeks. He said the assassination of a Yemeni opposition politician which sparked the crackdown was still being investigated.

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