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Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 17:17 UK

Somali suspects 'nowhere to go'

Guantanamo Bay
The men have languished in prison for more than six years

Two Somali-born prisoners in Guantanamo Bay have been cleared for release, but have not been freed as they have nowhere to go, their lawyers say.

Mohammed Hussein Abdullah and his son-in-law Mohammed Suleyman Barre have spent more than six years in the US detention centre on the island of Cuba.

They were arrested in Pakistan, where they had refugee status, after 9/11.

There are safety concerns if they return to Somalia and it is not clear if they can go back to Pakistan.

The BBC's Washington correspondent Abdirahman Aynte says before sending cleared terror suspects home, the US signs a repatriation treaty with foreign governments.

Somalia has not had an effective central government for more than 17 years and is currently plagued by insecurity as Islamist insurgents take on the interim administration and their Ethiopian allies.

Third way

Attorneys for Mr Abdullah and Mr Barre at the Centre for Constitutional Rights in New York told the BBC that they are concerned for the safety of the two men if they are returned to Somalia.

There should really be efforts made to resettle them either in Europe or back in Pakistan
HRW's Joanne Mariner

The men originally come from Somaliland. But the men do not wish to return there either - and the breakaway Somali territory is not recognised internationally.

Our reporter says no-one seems to know if their refugee status in Pakistan is still intact.

The men were arrested days after the terror attacks on the US in September 2001.

Human rights organisations are urging the US to find a third country, preferably somewhere in Europe, to take them.

"Somalia is not really a place you can send people home to, and there should really be efforts made to resettle them either in Europe or back in Pakistan or in other countries," Joanne Mariner of US-based Human Rights Watch told Voice of America radio.

She said there are two other prisoners at Guantanamo Bay of Somali origin.

Gouled Hassan Dourad is accused of heading a Mogadishu-based network which supported al-Qaeda members in Somalia.

And the Pentagon accuses Abdullahi Sudi Arale of being a courier between al-Qaeda in East Africa and Pakistan and smuggling arms to African extremists.

The US set the camp up in 2002 to hold foreign terror suspects captured during the war against the Taleban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Hundreds have been released without charge but more than 275 remain and the US hopes to try about 80.




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