14 Indicted for Supporting al Shabaab
Two Americans are under arrest and 12 other individuals, including five U.S. citizens, have been charged with acts of terrorism that include providing money, personnel, and other material support to the Somali-based terrorist organization al Shabaab.
The government designated al Shabaab a terrorist organization in 2008. The group has ties to al Qaeda and has made numerous public statements threatening to harm the United States.
“Terrorist organizations such as al Shabaab continue to radicalize and recruit U.S. citizens and others to train and fight with them and to provide support for their violent activities,” said Sean Joyce, executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch. “Today’s charges and arrests give us all greater insight into the evolving nature of the terrorist threat we face.”
The charges resulted from investigations coordinated by the FBI and the Department of Justice and that involved our law enforcement partners around the world. Our Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Minneapolis, Mobile, and San Diego played a particularly significant role, Joyce said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
Recruitment by al Shabaab among the Somali-American community is a “disturbing phenomenon that we’ve been investigating intensely in recent years,” Holder said. He noted that in Minnesota alone, between September 2007 and October 2009, 20 or more young men traveled from Minneapolis to Somalia for al Shabaab training. Many of them ultimately fought for the Muslim extremist group against Ethiopian forces, African Union troops, and the transitional government there. At least one young man from Minneapolis went on to become the first known U.S. citizen suicide bomber.
“As demonstrated by the charges unsealed today, we are seeing an increasing number of individuals—including U.S. citizens—who have become captivated by extremist ideology and have taken steps to carry out terrorist objectives, either at home or abroad,” Holder said.
“For those who would become terrorists, these cases send a strong message,” said FBI Director Robert S. Mueller. “They underscore the need for continued vigilance against those who may seek to harm us and our way of life.” He added, “Our agents and analysts will continue to confront this threat with a strong and coordinated effort as we work to protect all Americans.”