A former Minnesota resident has been arrested in Ohio for providing material support to an Al Qaeda-linked militant group in Somalia.
Ahmed Hussein Mahamud, a 26-year-old American of Somali descent, was arrested on June 10, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio, after being charged in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with supporting Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda affiliated group seeking to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.
Mahamud, whose family moved to the U.S. when he was 15-years-old, lived in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, until 2007. He reportedly moved to Columbus in early 2011 to be with his new wife.
An unsealed grand jury indictment alleges that Mahamud "unlawfully and knowingly" conspired with others to provide support to Al-Shabaab and its efforts to "murder, kidnap, maim or injure persons in a foreign country." Mahamud allegedly sent money to the terrorist group and recruited members, according to the indictment.
Mahamud is the latest American to face terror charges related to Al Shabaab. Since 2007, a wave of Americans have traveled to Somalia to fight with Al Shabaab and receive weapons training alongside recruits from other countries, including Britain, Australia, Sweden and Canada. Several of these recruits have fought against Ethiopian forces, African Union troops and the internationally-supported Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.
In May 2011, Farah Mohamad Beledi, of Minneapolis, killed two African Union peacekeepers and a Somali soldier during a suicide attack against a military base in Mogadishu, according to the FBI. Beledi, 27-years-old from Minnesota, is the second confirmed American to carry out a suicide attack on behalf of Al Shabaab.
The first, Shirwa Ahmed, carried out a suicide bombing at the Ethiopian Consulate and the presidential palace in Hargeisa killing 24 people in October 2009. Federal investigators have also looked into reports about whether another American was involved in a suicide attack in Mogadishu in September 2009 that killed 21 people. The identity of that attacker has never been confirmed.