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Bosnia: Authorities Hand Over Six Arabs To U.S.

Sarajevo, 18 January 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A U.S. military spokesman says Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation has turned over to U.S. military authorities six Arabs detained on suspicion of links to terrorist networks. The handover came one day after a Bosnian court ordered the release of the six detainees, citing a lack of evidence.

U.S. Navy commander Rex Totty, spokesman for the U.S. European command in Germany, said the six men were put in U.S. custody this morning and were taken to a "secure location".

Ivica Misic, head of Bosnia's antiterrorism team, confirmed the handover.

The six -- five Algerians and one Yemeni -- had been in detention since October. Police took them out of prison in Sarajevo earlier today and drove them to an undisclosed location after an all-night standoff with protesters alarmed by reports the six were going to be extradited.

A U.S. military statement quoted by AP said that the authorities of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the U.S. government believe the six "still pose a significant threat".