A 26-year-old Ohio man was arrested Thursday for allegedly conspiring to provide material support and resources to the Somali militant group al-Shabaab. Ahmed Hussein Mahamud appeared before an Ohio court, after which an indictment filed in a Minnesota federal court last week was unsealed. Mahamud will be transported to Minnesota where the case against him will proceed.
The indictment alleges that in April and July of 2009, Mahamud knowingly provided "financial support and personnel" intended to be used "under al-Shabaab's direction and control" to fight against Ethiopian forces, then battling al-Shabaab in Somalia alongside transitional government forces and African Union peacekeepers.
Ethiopia first sent troops to Somalia in 2006 to help the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in its fight against Somali militants, but eventually withdrew its forces in 2009. Al-Shabaab has been fighting the TFG for control of Somalia since the transitional government was formed in 2004 as the first recognized government since the Somali state's collapse in 1991.
The indictment unsealed Thursday charges Mahamud with four counts total of conspiring to provide and providing support to terrorists and al-Shabaab, designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization in 2008.
According to the Department of Justice, eighteen people in Minnesota have been indicted on charges related to the recruitment of individuals to fight with al-Shabaab overseas. Five of those have pleaded guilty. The FBI confirmed Thursday that one of those indicted men died trying to execute a suicide attack in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on May 30th.
Al-Shabaab-related charges have also been brought against individuals in San Diego and St. Louis. The California and Missouri indictments both accused defendants of conspiring to raise money to send to al-Shabaab through a hawala, or informal money transferring network, in the U.S.