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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Upset at al-Qaeda suspect arrest
Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani
Ghailani was reportedly arrested after a fierce gun battle (Photo: FBI)
The mother of a key Tanzanian suspect arrested in connection with the bombing of two US embassies in East Africa has said her son is innocent.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an alleged al-Qaeda militant with a $5m American bounty on his head, was captured in Pakistan on Sunday.

In tears Mrs Bimkubwa Said Abdullah told the BBC that she feared her son would be tortured in custody.

The Tanzanian government has yet to comment on the arrest of its national.

Tanzania's Foreign Affairs Minister Jakaya Kikwete said he learnt about the arrest from the media, and has not received any information from Pakistan.

Reserved

Mr Ghailani has been indicted in the US over the bombings of the American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, nearly six years ago.

More than 200 people were killed in the two explosions, including 12 American citizens. Most of the victims were Kenyans and Tanzanians.

He is considered to be a very dangerous man
Faisal Saleh Hayat
Pakistan's interior minister

In his early 30s and from the island of Zanzibar off Tanzania's coast, Mr Ghailani is described by his old friends as a reserved man and a good soccer player.

He left the island six years ago, relatives say, to pursue his studies.

Asha Muhammed, Mr Ghailani's first cousin, told the BBC's Ally Saleh in Zanzibar that he finds it hard to believe his cousin would be capable of harming anyone.

Mr Ghailani is on the FBI's list of 22 "most wanted terrorists".

Dangerous

He was captured in a fierce gun battle along with his Uzbek wife and two unnamed South African nationals in the town of Gujrat.

View of a room of in the house from which Ghailani was captured in Gujrat, Pakistan
Ghailani was arrested after a raid on this house
"He is alleged to be one of the key figures in the bombings... on the US embassies and, as such, is considered to be a very dangerous man and obviously has very close linkages with al-Qaeda," Pakistan's Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said.

Mr Hayat said Mr Ghailani was at present in Pakistani custody and being interrogated, but did not rule out the possibility of him being handed over to the US at a later stage.

Mrs Said Abdullah said she hoped her son would receive a fair trial.

The interior minister said the South Africans captured in the raid had not yet been identified.

South African press named them as Feroze Ganchi, a 30-year-old doctor, and 20-year-old student Zubair Ismael, but also said concerns had been raised that they might have been using fake passports.

South Africa has applied to Pakistan for access to the men.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Daniel Lak
"This arrest will whet appetites in America for the capture of Osama Bin Laden"



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