Eight Charged for Somali Terror Recruiting

In this Dec. 8, 2008, file photo armed Al-shabab fighters just outside Mogadishu, Somalia, prepare to travel into the city in pickup trucks after vowing there would be new waves of attacks against Ethiopian troops. Ethiopia had announced it would withdraw its troops by the end of 2008, leaving Somalia's government vulnerable to insurgents. AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh

Federal prosecutors have announced charges against eight more people as part of a long-running investigation of young men who left the United States to fight in Somalia.

As many as 20 young Somali men have left Minnesota over the last two years for Somalia and are believed to have joined the Somali terror group al-Shabab. At least three have died.

The charges unsealed Monday in Minneapolis include allegations that the men provided financial support to those who traveled to the East African country to fight on behalf of al-Shabab. The charges also allege that they attended al-Shabab terrorist training camps and fought on behalf of al-Shabab.

One of the eight named Monday is Mohamud Said Omar, who is currently being held in the Netherlands.

During a visit to the United States last month, the president of Somalia denounced the recruiting and said he plans to work with the U.S. government to bring those still alive back home.

President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed spoke with The Associated Press while visiting the Minneapolis area, where many of the men lived before returning to their impoverished nation over the last two years.

At least three have died in Somalia, including one who authorities believe was the first American suicide bomber. Three others have pleaded guilty in the U.S. to terror-related charges.

"We believe this is a wrong action, that these young men were wronged, they were robbed out of their life. Their parents were wronged," Ahmed told the AP through an interpreter. "The laws of the United States were violated. The security of Somalia was violated. So we condemn (them) without reservation."

Ahmed was in the Minneapolis area - home of the largest Somali population in the U.S. - to build support as his government tries to bring peace to the Horn of Africa country that has been plagued by violence for decades. The nation of 7 million people has not had a functioning government since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned on each other.
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