Indictments unsealed in Somali missing youths case, but are they going after the big fish?

I saw this news yesterday (the Fox News story is here), but just couldn’t get too excited to write about it.  So, they indicted a couple of the young men who allegedly went to Somalia for terrorist training, but I want to see the FBI go after the mastermind.  This article today indicates there might be progress in that area and maybe I’ll get my wish.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

First-ever details of Minnesota men training with terrorists in Somalia — learning to fire weapons, building training camps — came to light in court documents released Tuesday. 

One of the two Somali men indicted for providing support to those terrorists pleaded guilty months ago and has been cooperating with the FBI, according to those same documents.

Papers filed by the attorney for Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, 25, of Seattle also provide the first clue to how Isse and other young Somalis were recruited to fight, saying he was approached “at a house of worship.”

The investigation is a big deal for the FBI:

The men are the first to be publicly charged in the sweeping probe — one of the most far-reaching U.S. counterterrorism efforts since 9/11. Special Agent E.K. Wilson said Tuesday that these initial indictments are just the beginning of an “ongoing investigation.”

Isse, who is cooperating with the  government, must be pointing a finger at a “house of worship.”   What a surprise!

In his motion to amend the conditions of Isse’s detention Engh [Isse’s attorney] writes: “Mr. Isse will not be the last defendant indicted. The individuals who recruited him to go to Somalia have been targeted for prosecution. Once charged, they will face a life sentence. Recruiting young men to blow themselves up while killing the innocent at a crowded marketplace is a definition of evil. And this recruitment happened at a house of worship.”

As for Zakaria Maruf, the dead man we discussed here and here (when his sister wrote to us), it appears that others confirm that there is no way he is a big fish in all of this.

Gandi Mohamed, who grew up in the same neighborhood as Maruf and who worships at Abubakar, said he doubts Maruf acted alone.

Mohamed said Maruf was a hothead who often picked fights he couldn’t win. Although “he did calm down and mature” in recent years, Mohamed said, Maruf lacked the “personality, intellect and temperament” to mastermind an extensive recruiting effort.

“For me to go to Somalia right now, I would need my elders to get up there and make connections for me to be safe,” he said. “For him to get there and be connected and be a leader in al-Shabaab, he’d have to have someone influential to make the connection for him.

Yes, indeed!

For new readers, we have an archival post on this entire issue which we have followed closely since it first came to the publics’ attention last fall, here.

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