Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat- Government sources indicated that three al Qaeda militants surrendered to the security services and were being questioned.
Fawzi al Wajih, Ibrahim al Maqri and Firas al Bihani, who belong to a group headed by Fawaz al Rabei, were amongst 23 al Qaeda convicts who escaped from a high security jail in the Yemeni capital by digging a tunnel into the women’s section of a nearby mosque.
They were jailed for their role in setting ablaze the French oil tanker Limbourg, in the port of Ash Shihr , at Mukallah, 570 kilometers east of Aden in October 2002.
Security sources predicted that more convicts would surrendered or be captured in the coming weeks and revealed that several al Qaeda militants had established contact with the authorities in order to negotiate their surrender. All fugitives were sill on, Yemeni soil, the sources added.
The fugitives include Jamal al Badawi, sentenced to 15 years for his role in masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole warship and other militants who carried out the 2002 attacks on the French supertanker, as well as a Yemeni-American wanted by the United States.
The jailbreak has embarrassed Saleh’s government, which is battling Islamist militants, and raised questions about Yemen’s security measures among its Western allies.
The government has offered a $25,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest of any of the fugitives.