Palau Population, Anecdotally, Less Than Thrilled With Prospect of Uighurs

Jun 12, 2009 8:49am

The decision by Johnson Toribiong, president of the obscure Pacific nation of Palau, to take in up to 13 Uighurs — Muslim Chinese — currently being held at Guantanamo is meeting some resistance from the general population.

As ABC News' polling director Gary Langer points out, proportional to population, sending 13 Uighurs to Palau is like sending 188,993 Uighurs to the United States.

The Associated Press reports that Fermin Nariang, editor of the Palau newspaper Island Times, has "been stopped in the streets of the capital Koror by locals venting their anger. 'This is a very small country … and some are saying if the whole world doesn't want these folks, why are we taking them?' Nariang said. The government has 'fumbled the ball on this one.'"

Yesterday the Justice Department announced that it had released six detainees. Four have been resettled in Bermuda, though as ABC News' Kirit Radia reported yesterday, British government officials are "pissed," according to a senior State Department official, saying they were not adequately consulted. The UK provides for Bermuda's defense and foreign affairs.

The Obama administration released another detainee in Iraq this week while a sixth was sent to Chad.

– jpt


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