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Analyst Says Indictments May Reveal Somali Sympathies Toward Al-Shabab

  • Peter Clottey

An analyst has expressed concern Somali residents in the United States could be violently targeted by Americans after Attorney General Eric Holder announced the indictment of 14 people charged with providing support to the hard-line Somali insurgent group al-Shabab.

Faisal Abdiroble said there have been instances where Somali residents in the state of Minnesota have gone back to Somalia to be suicide bombers or joined the ranks of the insurgent group fighting the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

“There is the potentiality that some elements who favor al-Shabab and radical religious movements probably could be found in Minnesota. Minnesota has a large underclass Somali community who have been neglected either by [the] government welfare system, or otherwise. It will not be a surprising thing to find that there are Somalis who sympathize with al-Shabab,” he said.

Attorney General Holder said at a news conference Thursday that the indictment sheds additional light on a deadly pipeline that has provided funding and fighters to the al-Shabab terror organization from cities across the United States.

Analyst Abdiroble said the indictments will send a message of the U.S. administration’s seriousness in decisively dealing with supporters of the insurgents, both internationally and inside Somalia.

The indictments came a day after federal agents arrested a 26-year-old man from Chicago hours before his scheduled trip to Somalia.

Prosecutors say Shaker Masri had been under investigation for 18 months, but, in the past month, and became increasingly serious about his planned trip to Somalia, where he hoped to launch a suicide attack against the Somali administration. He is now charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization.

The internationally-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government has been battling almost daily with hard-line Islamic insurgents who have vowed to overthrow the administration to implement the strictest form of the Sharia Law.

Analyst Abdiroble said the Somali administration is too weak to withstand the threat posed by the hard-line Islamic insurgents.

“I must emphasize that there isn’t much left of the [Somali] government that the U.S supports. [President] Sheikh Sharif’s government is literally a government that doesn’t exist in Somalia. Al-Shabab has taken most of the country,” Abdiroble said.