The connections between terrorism in Somalia and expatriate communities in the US have hit the news again today. The federal government announced charges against people, including US citizens, for supporting the Islamist terror organization al-Shabab in Somalia. The defendants live in California, Alabama, and in Minnesota — where dozens of young men disappeared in the last couple of years:
A number of people in Minnesota, California and Alabama are being charged with providing support for the terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia, two U.S. officials said Thursday.
Most of the people are U.S. citizens, with some supporting the terrorist organization from the United States and others traveling to Somalia to do so.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in the investigation which is culminating in several indictments.
The charges in Minnesota are the latest development in an inquiry in that state which has been under way for some time.
These appear to be additional to the indictments announced last November against eight men in Minnesota. This followed the news that a former Minneapolis resident, Shirwa Ahmed, had conducted a suicide bombing in Somalia after being recruited and radicalized in the Twin Cities. It turned out that around two dozen young men from the Somali ex-pat community had disappeared after joining the same mosque, and the FBI has been working ever since to determine their fate and their connections.
It’s also worth noting that the Somali community has been very cooperative in that effort, hoping to rescue their sons before they meet with Ahmed’s fate. They even protested against CAIR, after the organization attempted to intercede to limit their cooperation.
The wide geographic range of indictments shows that al-Shabab attempted to extend its reach far outside of the Twin Cities. Hopefully, this announcement means that they have rolled up most of the network, if not all of it, and that the law-abiding Somalis in the US won’t have terrorist radicals preying on their sons any longer. (via Andrew Malcolm)
Update: It seems some commenters think I should have noted that al-Shabab is an Islamist terror network. Actually, I thought that was pretty well known; it didn’t occur to me that it needed specification, but now it’s included.