USA — U.S. Indicts 14 for Support of al-Qaida Affiliate

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2010 — The Jus­tice Depart­ment announced charges today against 14 peo­ple in three U.S. states with ties to an al-Qai­da affil­i­ate in Soma­lia, just as a new State Depart­ment report high­light­ed con­cerns about al-Qaida’s inroads across Africa.

Attor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er announced that the depart­ment unsealed four sep­a­rate indict­ments charg­ing peo­ple in Min­neso­ta, Alaba­ma and Cal­i­for­nia with pro­vid­ing mon­ey, per­son­nel and ser­vices to al-Shabaab, a ter­ror­ist group oper­at­ing in Soma­lia with ties to al-Qai­da.

Among them were Ami­na Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Has­san, arrest­ed today in Min­neso­ta for pro­vid­ing funds to al-Shabaab, Hold­er said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence. Most of the oth­er defen­dants already are in cus­tody, he report­ed.

“These indict­ments and arrests … shed fur­ther light on a dead­ly pipeline that has rout­ed fund­ing and fight­ers to al-Shabaab from cities across the Unit­ed States,” Hold­er said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence.

“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. “It’s a dis­turb­ing trend that we have been intense­ly inves­ti­gat­ing.”

As those inves­ti­ga­tions con­tin­ue, Hold­er said, today’s events pro­vide “an unmis­tak­able warn­ing” to any­one con­sid­er­ing join­ing or sup­port­ing ter­ror­ist groups such as al-Shabaab. “If you choose this route, you can expect to find your­self in a U.S. jail or a casu­al­ty on the bat­tle­field in Soma­lia,” he said.

Today’s announce­ment came as the State Depart­ment released a report to Con­gress high­light­ing con­cerns about al-Qaida’s grow­ing foothold in Africa.

Al-Shabaab’s lead­er­ship sup­ports al-Qai­da, the report con­clud­ed, with both groups pre­sent­ing “a seri­ous ter­ror­ist threat to Amer­i­ca and allied inter­ests through­out the Horn of Africa.”

Ongo­ing fight­ing between al-Shabaab, the Soma­lia Islam­ic insur­gent group Hizbul Islam, and oth­er fac­tions and mili­tias and Somalia’s tran­si­tion­al fed­er­al gov­ern­ment have left Soma­lia “high­ly unsta­ble,” the report said. As a result, Soma­lia pro­vides “a per­mis­sive envi­ron­ment for ter­ror­ist tran­sit and train­ing,” it said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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