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Guantanamo commander reassigned after six-month tenure

[JURIST] US Navy Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby [official profile], commander of the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] military prison, was reassigned Friday after only six months at that position. The date of Buzby's departure for the Virginia-based US Fleet Forces Command [official website] has not been publicly released. According to a brief Pentagon statement [official text], Rear Adm. David M. Thomas [official profile] will replace Buzby at the detention center. Buzby assumed command [press release] at Guantanamo in May. Buzby's predecessor, Rear Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., became Director of Operations for US Southern Command in June 2007 after a 14-month tenure as Guantanamo commander. Harris' predecessor, Army Maj. Gen. Jay Hood, commanded Joint Task Force Guantanamo for two years, from March 2004 to March 2006. AP has more.

Buzby's departure comes as the number of detainees at Guantanamo continues to decline rapidly. Yemeni nationals now constitute the largest group of prisoners at the camp (almost 100 out of 275); the Yememi detainees cannot be freed due to a diplomatic stalemate between the Yemeni government and Washington. AP Friday quoted a US Defense Department official as saying that the Yemeni government must promise to do more to assure that released detainees do not attack the US or its allies. Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kerbi has said in turn that Guantanamo must be closed and that Yemen "does not accept smaller prisons elsewhere." AP has more.

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