Al Qaeda Suspect Caught in East Africa Held by U.S. at Guantanamo Bay

A suspected Al Qaeda terrorist was captured in East Africa and taken to the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

He was identified as Abdullahi Sudi Arale.

"We believe him to be an extremely dangerous member of the Al Qaeda network," said Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman.

Whitman alleged the prisoner served as a courier between East African Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda in Pakistan and helped African extremists get weapons and explosives.

Whitman said he was transferred to Guantanamo this week after being captured in the last couple of weeks in the Horn of Africa. He declined to provide additional details about the suspect or his capture.

The U.S. military has stepped up its activity in that region this year. A number of foreign and Somali Islamic militants were reported killed last week in fighting with Somali government forces and during a bombardment from a U.S. warship in Somalia's semiautonomous northeastern region of Puntland. Fighters from Britain, America, Sweden, Pakistan and Yemen were killed in separate operations carried out by local troops and U.S. Navy forces, the Puntland government said.

Ethiopian forces with American help crossed into Somalia and drove Islamic forces into hiding in January but fighting has continued.

The United States has repeatedly accused Somalia's Council of Islamic Courts of harboring international terrorists linked to Al Qaeda and allegedly responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.