JEDDAH: The Ministry of Interior is expected to release details soon of a Saudi on its 2009 list of persons wanted in connection with security issues who has expressed the wish to return from Afghanistan, sources have told Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
The move would reduce the list to 70, following the ministry statement Friday announcing the return of Jabir Bin Jibran Ali Al-Faifi from Yemen.
A Yemeni official told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that security authorities in the Lawdar area of the Abyan province in south Yemen took Al-Faifi into custody on Sep. 9 after he had informed them of his whereabouts with other members of the so-called Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and his desire to hand himself in.
The official said that a second member of the organization, Jalal Al-Saidi, handed himself in at the same time in Lawdar, and that the two events happened during a two-week long Yemeni security forces campaign in Ramadan in pursuit of Al-Qaeda members who managed to flee.
Details obtained by Okaz/Saudi Gazette suggest that Al-Faifi was prompted to consider returning after seeing Al-Qaeda using members of the local population as “human shields” during the battles, leading to an undeclared number of deaths.
Al-Faifi reportedly underwent a “rethink” and turned his back on his former ideology, leading him to contact the Muhammad Bin Naif Al-Munasaha Center where he had previously been put through programs for terrorist rehabilitation.
In the telephone call Al-Faifi reportedly expressed his “utter conviction” of the false nature of Al-Qaeda’s ideology and also revealed that he had recruited 20 young Saudis to the organization.
Seven wanted persons repatriated from Guantanamo and later put through the Al-Munasaha program remain at large in Yemen. Saeed Al-Shehri, cited as the “second man” in Al-Qaeda in Yemen, Ibrahim Al-Rubaish, Murtadha Muqrim, Adnan Al-Sa’igh, Othman Al-Ghamdi, Turki Asiri, and Mish’al Al-Shadoukhi are all named on the Ministry of Interior Feb. 2009 list of wanted.
In announcing the surrender of Al-Faifi Friday, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior said that the “tables have turned” on followers of “deviant ideology” abroad.
“They now find themselves tools in the hands of enemies of the country,” he said. “They are used as fuel for division… thrown into battlegrounds serving only the plans of enemies of the Ummah and the propagation of chaos…”
Families of the wanted, meanwhile, reissued appeals for their relatives to hand themselves over to the authorities and return home.
The mother of Adnan Al-Sa’igh, number 55 on the list of 85, told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that her son should “have a serious rethink” and follow the example of others who have turned themselves in.
“I appeal to Adnan to return to peace and health like his colleagues Muhammad Al-Oufi and Jabir Al-Faifi,” she said. “He will only find good upon his return, and I desperately need him as do his wife and children.”
A close relative of Saleh Abdullah Saleh Al-Qar’awi – number 34 on the ministry list of 85 – appealed to him to “return from the path he took”, which he said served “only the enemies of the religion and the country and the Ummah”.
“He has been in contact with his mother and father and they sense that he wishes to return,” he said.
Al-Qar’awi has previously been linked to activities in Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq, while Saudi Gazette reported in Sep. 2009 his family as saying he had made a call claiming to be in Afghanistan.
The family informed security authorities of the conversation – their first contact with him for two years - and the number he used transpired to be “from another country”.
The 28-year-old was arrested in Syria six years ago and then detained in the Kingdom for four months before being released, only to leave the country again four years ago “showing signs of wishing to engage in jihad,” according to his family.
The ministry reiterated its appeal to all wanted persons to hand themselves in to the authorities, a move that would, it said, be taken into consideration when their cases are reviewed.
– Okaz/Saudi Gazette