RIYADH – Saudi Arabia issued a list on Monday of its 85 most wanted suspects living abroad, including six Saudis released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, an Interior Ministry statement said Monday.
Out of the 85 people, 83 are Saudis and two are Yemenis,” the Saudi Press Agency said, citing an official source at the ministry.
The statement said those who give information on the suspects would be rewarded.
Brig. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki told the Associated Press that Saudi Arabia has asked for the help of Interpol, the international police organization, to detain the suspects and return them to Saudi Arabia. He urged the suspects to turn themselves in to Saudi embassies abroad.
“They will help them return to Saudi Arabia and unite with their families,” he said. “Reuniting with their families may not happen instantly. There may be a process that might include rehabilitation.”
Turki said he believed many of the militants were receiving training abroad to carry out operations in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Arabiya satellite news channel said the statement identified one of the militants, Saleh Al-Qaraawi, as the leader of Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.
The ministry statement on SPA said that after Saudi Arabia announced an amnesty on Aug. 4 last year, 15 Saudis “who were misled and realized their mistake” had come forward to surrender to the Saudi embassies and consulates abroad.
“There are still others who are still holding on to their sins and temptations,” the statement said. “They have made themselves tools in the hands of the enemies of the religion, and the nation has nothing to do with them and is apprehensive about what despicable acts these human devils might perpetrate against their people and nation.”
The statement called upon the wanted persons to “return to reason and wisdom” and surrender under the Aug. 4 amnesty offer, whereby their return to the country “would be secured and they would be reunited with their families” depending on the charges against them.
It said that Saudi society has realized "the reality of deviant thought" and the goals of “evil-doers who are waging a war against Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him).”
The suspects, when confronted by Saudi security forces, were forced to withdraw to “where their deviant thought led them to believe would be the starting points to undermine their nation and its capabilities and people,” the statement said.
The announcement is the first time Saudi Arabia has talked about wanted suspects outside the country. After a series of attacks on foreigners inside the country, the government issued in Dec. 2003 a wanted list of 26 militants inside the country. All but one of them was subsequently killed or captured.
Saudi Arabia has pursued an aggressive campaign against militants since May 2003, when they first began their strikes in the Kingdom. Subsequent attacks targeted oil installations, government buildings and other compounds.
The Interior Ministry announced in October that authorities indicted 991 suspected militants on charges that they participated in terrorist attacks carried out in Saudi Arabia over the last five years.
Many of those who have returned from imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay or Iraq have been placed in rehabilitation programs to encourage them to renounce terrorism. There have been no major attacks since February 2006, when suicide bombers tried but failed to attack an oil facility at the Abqaiq oil complex, the world’s largest oil processing facility, in eastern Saudi Arabia. – With AP