The US prison at Guantanamo has held nearly 800 inmates but now hold just 40, including the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks (Sylvie LANTEAUME)

Washington (AFP) – The commander of the US prison at Guantanamo, where 40 “war on terror” detainees are still held after 17 years, has been fired for “loss of confidence,” the military said Monday.

Navy Rear Admiral John Ring was removed Saturday as  commander, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, according to a statement from the US Southern Command, which oversees the prison.

Ring was relieved “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command,” the statement said.

“This change in leadership will not interrupt the safe, humane, legal care and custody provided to the detainee population at GTMO,” it said.

Ring’s deputy, Army Brigadier General John Hussey, has been named acting commander.

No specific reason was given from Ring’s removal, which came less than two months before he was scheduled to leave the position, according to the New York Times.

The Times said the decision came after a monthlong investigation of unspecified nature.

The facility, located in a US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was made a prison for suspects captured by US forces following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and the launch of coalition force strikes on Afghanistan.

It has held nearly 800 captives since then.

In its heydey, it became notorious for harsh interrogations denounced as torture, and for force-feeding of hunger-striking inmates.

Forty prisoners remain today, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Most are still waiting for their cases to be heard in on-again-off-again military tribunals.

In the past year, the tribunals have faced a high turnover of judges and military legal staff and lack of clear direction from Washington.

Disclaimer: Validity of the above story is for 7 Days from original date of publishing. Source: AFP.