WASHINGTON -- Nearly half the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp have been formally classified as hunger strikers a week after guards raided the facility's largest communal area and forced detainees into single cells.
As of Saturday, 77 of the 166 prisoners being held at the United States naval base are recognized as engaging in a hunger strike, according to Lt. Col. Sam House. Seventeen of them have a tube inserted through their nose and a can of Ensure, a nutrition drink, is being pumped into their stomachs; five are in the hospital with non-life threatening conditions.
On April 13, guards forced detainees from communal areas in the Camp 6 prison facility to individual cells, according to a news release from the Department of Defense. The action was taken "in response to efforts by detainees to limit the guard force's ability to observe the detainees by covering surveillance cameras, windows, and glass partitions," it stated.
The number of detainees on a hunger strike has grown quickly over the past few days as medical personnel check the weight and health of detainees who they were unable to evaluate when the cameras were covered.
The military's Muslim adviser in Guantanamo told reporters this week that one or more of the detainees will die before the hunger strike is over. Reporters listening to morning prayers were evacuated from the higher security Camp 5 after a detainee began feeling faint and had to be evaluated by medical personnel.