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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Al Shabab's Recruiting Pipeline From Minnesota To Somalia Detailed In New Filing

A trial brief filed this week in the U.S. District Court in Minnesota for accused Al Shabab collaborator Omer Adbi Mohamed revealed new details about just how Al Shabab's recruitment practices work in Minneapolis.

I've hacked the file up into a highly condensed excerpt below, or you can read the whole document. Journalists, I edited what's below heavily so quote the document proper if you are quoting.

Starting in or about September 2007, the defendant and his conspirators formed a secretive plan in which ethnic Somali men residing in Minneapolis would return to Somalia to conduct jihad alongside Islamic extremists against the Ethiopian military present in Somalia to assist the internationally-supported Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (“TFG”).

In or about September 2007, the defendant Omer Abdi Mohamed and his conspirators, to include Khalid Abshir (“Abshir”), Dahir Gure (“Gure”), Ahmed Ali Omar (“Omar”), and Shirwa Ahmed (“Shirwa Ahmed”) ... began to raise funds and planned to join Abshir’s relative in Somalia, a senior member of al Shabaab.

Throughout the fall of 2007, the defendant and his conspirators secretly began to mobilize groups of men to depart for Somalia. The group met at mosques, restaurants, and private restaurants to plan the logistics of the trip. ... The group also conferred with one man who had recently returned from Somalia and stated that the men would engage in a “good jihad.”

To raise money, the group solicited donations from unsuspecting members of the Somali community under false pretenses. The defendant and his conspirators went to local malls and apartment buildings to ask for money, claiming it would be used to build a mosque or to assist with relief efforts in Somalia. In fact, the money was to pay for the airfare and travel expenses of the group of men to join in the conspiracy.

They challenged members of the conspiracy who had planned to travel, questioning their commitment, dedication, and knowledge of both the religion and events in Somalia, before ultimately assisting them with the trip.

When the time came to buy tickets, the defendant relied on a contact he had at Amana Travel to assist with booking the tickets. The defendant contacted Amana Travel, accompanied men to the travel agency, and paid for the tickets. The defendant and his conspirators acquired and provided to [local recruit Kamal] Hassan a fraudulent itinerary reflecting that Hassan would be traveling to Saudi Arabia for purpose of misleading Hassan’s family about his destination.

[S]even men who had left from Minneapolis in the fall of 2007 reunited at a safe-house in Southern Somalia. They were provided weapons training and met with senior leaders of al Shabaab. At a different safe-house, the men from Minneapolis, along with other members of al Shabaab, were issued AK-47s and ammunition.

When they arrived at the camp, the men were divided into groups and began to construct the camp. Under the supervision of the leaders, they began cutting down trees and clearing brush. Salah Ahmed and Isse left the camp after several weeks and began making their way back to the United States. Shirwa Ahmed also left the camp to assist a friend, but was persuaded to return to the camp by his conspirators in Somalia.

The remaining men from Minneapolis along with other recruits were provided weapons training, religious instruction and anti-Western propaganda. The camp received visits from senior members of al Shabaab. An al Shabaab “media” crew arrived to film a propaganda video that depicted recruits training and featured an English-language recruiting appeal made by a man from Minneapolis. Robow and Nabhan appear in the video.

In mid-July 2008, after graduating from the training camp, the men from Minneapolis were assigned to a group of foreign fighters and dispatched to conduct an ambush of Ethiopian troops traveling along a road in Somalia. The preparations and ambush were filmed by a member of the conspiracy and produced as an al Shabaab propaganda video. Senior members of al Shabaab narrate the video and a man from Minneapolis makes a speech to the camera in which he encourages more men to join them in Somalia.

[O]n October 29, 2008, five coordinated vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (“IED”) exploded in the Somali territories of Puntland and Somaliland. The bombings resulted in the death of the suicide bombers, including [Minneapolis recruit] Shirwa Ahmed, as well as approximately 22 persons.

For more about American jihadists, check out J.M. Berger's new book, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam.

Related posts:

  • Dealing With Radicalization In America

  • Omar Hammami Falls Short In OBL Eulogy

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    INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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