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Man Pleads Guilty to Aiding Somali Militants

Al-Shabab fighters on parade with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu,Somalia (File Photo - February 17, 2011)

A man has pleaded guilty to helping recruit young Somali-American men from the northern U.S. state of Minnesota to return to their homeland in an effort to overthrow the Somali government.

The U.S. Justice Department said Omer Abdi Mohamed, 26, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of conspiring to murder, kidnap and maim abroad. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

Mohamed is one of six people of Somali descent to plead guilty in Minnesota as part of a wide federal investigation.

Prosecutors said the charges against him related to his role in helping some 20 young men travel from Minnesota to Somalia in recent years to train with the terror group al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab is trying to overthrow the United Nations-backed government and set up a strict Islamic state. The group rules much of southern and central Somalia, while the government controls only small parts of the capital.