Yemeni authorities have detained 115 foreign students on charges of illegal residence and questioned them about ties to radical Islamic groups, an Interior Ministry official said on Saturday, according to LA Times.
The students, from various countries including Britain, France, Egypt, Algeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, used to study in religious schools in different parts of Yemen, the official added, but did not issue specific accounts on the nationalities of the detained students.
They were arrested during the last four months and none had been charged thus far, according to the official. The authorities were sharing the information obtained from the students with the United States, said a diplomat, who, like the official, spoke on condition of anonymity.
On Saturday, Indonesia called the arrest of 43 students from the country as unreasonable.
“We are deeply concerned about the treatment of our students who were unreasonably arrested,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wahid Supriyadi said. “The Yemeni authorities are watching hard-line Muslim learning institutions very closely and unfortunately some of our students were studying there.” Indonesia has formally issued a complaint to the Yemeni government over the long delay in announcing the arrests of the students and their “improper treatment,” Supriyadi added.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States, Muslim countries, including Yemen and Indonesia, have been pressured to crack down on religious extremists connected to various militant groups. U.S. officials say terrorist groups are active in at least fifty countries.
Washington has been pushing San’aa for wider anti-terrorism cooperation since the October 2000 suicide bombing of the U.S. destroyer Cole. (Albawaba.com)