Today the Justice Department announced that Ahmed Hussein Mahamud, a 27-year-old man formerly from the Minneapolis area, has pled guilty to conspiring to provide money and recruiting personnel for Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked terror group in Somalia. Mahamud’s conviction is the latest in an ongoing three-year investigation into links between Shabaab and the Somali-American community based in and around Minneapolis. From 2008 to February 2011, Mahamud, who was indicted on June 7, 2011, conspired to provide material support to Shabaab in aid of its fight against Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government.
From the DOJ press release:
The defendant also admitted that he and his co-conspirators raised money from the Somali-American community in Minnesota under false pretenses to pay for men in Minnesota to travel to Somalia to join al Shabaab. Specifically, the defendant and his co-conspirators claimed the money raised would be used for a local mosque or to help orphans in Somalia. In fact, the money collected was used to purchase airline tickets and to pay other expenses so men could travel from Minnesota to Somalia to join al-Shabaab.
Further, Mahamud admittedly sent money via wire transfers to a co-conspirator in Somalia, knowing the money would be used to purchase weapons or otherwise support al-Shabaab.
The DoJ went on to outline the investigation into those implicated in activities supporting Shabaab. Since September 2007, around 20 men have left the Minneapolis area and traveled to Somalia, where they have trained with the terror group and, in numerous cases, joined it. One of the men, Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax, was recently identified by The Long War Journal in a picture that was taken with Omar Hammami, a US-born Shabaab military commander who is on the US’s list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Given the suspicious circumstances of the men’s disappearance, an FBI investigation was opened into the men’s activities. The investigation has unraveled a web of Shabaab sympathizers willing to send money to the group.
Mahamud is one of seven who have pled guilty to terror-related charges in the FBI’s investigation. Eight more are still at large, and are believed to be in Somalia supporting Shabaab. Two of the men under investigation have been killed fighting government forces in Somalia.