RIYADH/MADINA – The family members and friends of ex-Gitmo detainees, Muhammad Al-Oufi and Sa’eed Al-Shihri, who resurfaced last week in Yemen as Al-Qaeda operatives despite having undergone a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia, have denounced them as “irreversible deviant members of society.”
Al-Oufi’s family has accused his “bad” compatriots of dragging him once again to the abyss of terrorism. After his return from Guantanamo where he spent seven years, Al-Oufi swore that he would never return to the deviant thought, his family said.
Al-Oufi’s mother squarely blames Sa’eed Al-Shihri for the mess her son is in now. The mother said her son was picked up from his house by Al-Shihri about three months ago.
Al-Oufi’s mother and sister were taken by surprise when the two men appeared in an Al-Qaeda propaganda video, renewing their pledge to carry out terrorist attacks and their loyalty to the Al-Qaeda terror network. They are now appealing to him to return to his wife and his two children, Osama (8 years) and Jana (2 months).
The mother who lives in Al-Naseem District in Riyadh said in a telephone conversation she was sad at her son’s rejoining the terror group. “We all feel sad for what he is doing. I pray to Allah to guide him to the right path and he surrenders to the authorities.”
When asked on what prompted Al-Oufi to again embrace the deviant ideology, the mother said: “His friend Sa’eed Al-Shihri contacted him on his mobile phone three months ago after which he disappeared until we saw him on TV. We never thought that he would return to the fold of this deviant group, especially after his bitter experience in Guantanamo he told us about,” she said.
She said on his return from Guantanamo, Al-Oufi promised her that he would never leave his country and he would be a good citizen, but he did not keep up his word. “He was brainwashed by his terror colleagues.”
“He did not even consider the great effort exerted by the government to get him back from Guantanamo and the rehabilitation program it offered,” she said.
She said Al-Oufi has reneged on his promise and betrayed the trust of the government and the people who love him. “He broke the heart of his wife and children. I don’t think she will recover from this shock,” she said.
Al-Oufi’s sister said she hoped he would realize the trauma of the family. “Our father is bedridden ever since the news of his son’s detention in Guantanamo broke out. My poor father was already crestfallen with the death of my brother Sami who was killed in Afghanistan about eight years ago. Muhammad’s detention in Guantanamo further aggravated his health.”
She said Muhammad had sworn by God that he would never do anything against his country and people.
“When we saw Muhammed on TV, we prayed for him that he would resort to sound reason because we were haunted by the idea of losing him as we lost our brother Sami in Afghanistan.”
“I did not notice any change in his attitude in the days before his disappearance … but the sudden turn of events has stunned all family members,” the sister said. A few days before his disappearance,
Al-Oufi told his family that Prince Muhammed Bin Naif Bin Abdul Aziz, Assistant Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, would buy a house and a car for him, in addition to a monthly salary for him, the distraught sister said.
Gitmo returnees shocked
Several Guantanamo returnees expressed their surprise and dismay over the return of Al-Oufi and Al-Shihri to the terror network.
They described the actions of two militants as disgraceful and disgusting. “They have betrayed their beloved country which rescued them from the hell of Guantanamo. They cannot be trusted,” they said.
Abdulaziz Abdulrahman Al-Badah, a Gitmo returnee, said Al-Shihri and Al-Oufi have shown their malicious intentions toward their country and people. “They are selfish. They just forgot all about the damage they have inflicted on the rest of our brothers who have been suffering for years in Guantanamo.”
Al-Badah said he is fully busy with his education now at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah in order to contribute to the development of the Kingdom.
In Taif, Mohsen Al-Saigh, brother of Adnan Al-Saigh Saod, another Gitmo returnee, described the action of Al-Oufi and Al-Shihri as very shocking.
“They have forgotten the effort exerted by the state to set them free. They must have been very grateful and thankful to the government for the confidence it has placed in them instead of biting the hand extended to them. It shows that they are untrustworthy and don’t deserve this generous and noble treatment,” he said.
Only mentally ill people do what they did, he said. “Let them go fight windmills,” he added.
Ahmad Othman Al-Ghamdi, brother of Gitmo returnee Abdulrahman, said Al-Oufi and Al-Shihri have sold themselves to the Satan. “It is still not late for them to repent and free themselves from the chain of this deviant group which has been exploiting their ignorance and filling their minds with misconceptions which have nothing to do with Islam.”
He said they broke their word to Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, the man of noble principles, who has been providing full moral and financial support to them.
Muhammed Al-Qahtani, the lawyer of the returnees’ families, said he has received a lot of phone calls from the returnees denouncing the shameful and graceful attitude shown by Al-Oufi and Al-Shihri.
Al-Qahtani said they will soon realize the great damage they have done to themselves. – Okaz/SG