I said yesterday that I had a couple (turns out to have been 5!) of those hot Somali stories and this is one I didn’t get to. The sixth indictment has been handed down in the FBI investigation into the Somali (former refugee) missing youth case. Hat tip: ever-watchful in Tennessee.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a paper that keeps on top of this story:
A 24-year-old local Somali man has been indicted in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on charges of conspiring to provide support to terrorists.
Omer Abdi Mohamed, an unemployed employment counselor and father of a 2-month-old boy, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to “kill, kidnap, maim or injure” people in foreign countries, according to an indictment filed Tuesday but made public Thursday.
Mohamed, of Minneapolis, is the sixth Somali man with local ties to be charged in connection with a two-year-old federal counterterrorism investigation aimed at finding out who recruited as many as 20 area men of Somali descent to return to their homeland and train and fight with the terrorist group, Al-Shabaab. The probe is considered to be one of the most sweeping international counterterrorism investigations since Sept. 11, 2001. [Reminder: the FBI missed Major Nidal Hasan]
According to the indictment, others connected to the conspiracy include: Salah Osman Ahmed, Kamal Said Hassan, Ahmed Ali Omar, Abdifatah Isse and Khalid Mohamud Abshir — all of whom left the United States in December 2007 with a final destination of Somalia. Ahmed, Hassan and Isse all have pleaded guilty to the same charges Mohamed faces.
How and where were they radicalized? It all just keeps coming back to the mosque they had in common—-Abubakar as-Saddique Islamic Center.
Officials at the mosque have repeatedly denied any role in recruiting or enabling the men to return to Somalia. Just last week, two mosque officials were cleared to fly after their names had appeared on a federal “no fly” list last year. According to an attorney for one of the men, the move cleared them of any involvement in the Somali men’s disappearance.
Why did they go?
The woman [who knows the men well and helped the FBI in the investigation] said she doesn’t know for certain why all the men left for Somalia, but said she believes it’s rooted in a combination of patriotic feelings toward the Somali homeland and religious fervor.
I’m guessing 10% patriotism and 90% religious fervor. This is an important point of discussion as I learned when I went to the Senate Homeland Security hearings on this terror-training investigation. The Senators and those in the intelligence community testifying were eager to dismiss the return to Africa by men who had been given a good life through our refugee resettlement program, if it was patriotism that motivated them. They skirted the religious fervor angle in what I’ll call the Major Nidal Hasan syndrome.
A judge released this latest indicted man on bond.
Mohamed appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Franklin Noel, who agreed to release him on a $25,000 signature bond after Wold argued that his client was not a risk to flee. As of Thursday night, he was preparing to be released, pending the installation of an electronic home monitoring system.
Let’s see, so 6 have died and 6 have been indicted. Then an alleged ringleader was arrested in the Netherlands. The FBI has been saying 20 left the US for Somalia. If you count the ringleader that makes 13 accounted for, leaving only 7 who knows where. Wanta bet there were more than 20 from the US?
For new readers:
The US State Department has admitted over 80,000 Somali refugees to the US in the last 25 years and then last year had to suspend family reunification because widespread immigration fraud was revealed through DNA testing. That specific program has not yet been reopened, but will be soon. Nevertheless, thousands of Somalis continue to be resettled as I write this.