A senior member of the al-Shabaab terrorist organization has been indicted in New York, after spending months providing "valuable information" to U.S. intelligence agencies. The intelligence shows close links between al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Somalia's al-Shabaab, including passing weapons and bomb-making knowledge between the two groups.
Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was indicted Tuesday on nine terrorism counts, including providing material support to AQAP and al-Shabaab, weapons charges related to terrorist acts, and instructing others in making explosives. Warsame was captured in the Gulf region by U.S. forces on April 19th and questioned for two months. Following his debriefing, Warsame was read his Miranda rights and questioned by U.S. law enforcement for several days, resulting in his indictment.
"As alleged, Ahmed Warsame was a conduit between al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- two deadly terrorist organizations -- providing material support and resources to them both," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a press release. "Capturing and bringing Warsame to justice is a body blow to any al Qaeda affiliate that aspires to fill the vacuum of a diminished al Qaeda central," said New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
AQAP has deepened its relationship with al-Shabaab, which is recognized as an affiliate of the global al-Qaida movement. The Somali terrorist organization shipped dozens of troops to help AQAP's war on the Yemeni government, and to evacuate al-Shabaab forces from embattled positions in south Somalia.
The passing of bomb-making information from AQAP to al-Shabaab raises additional concerns, particularly in light of AQAP's sophisticated use of difficult to track explosive materials and mails bombs. A recent threat of mail bombings by an al-Qaida web forum also heightens concern about al-Shabaab's new abilities.