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Entries in Somali (4)

Tuesday
Aug162011

Feds: Al-Shabaab Terror Recruiter Extradited to US

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After nearly two years in custody abroad, a Minnesota man charged with recruiting Americans to join the ranks of an al Qaeda-linked Somali terror group has been brought back to face trial, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Mahamud Said Omar, formerly of Minneapolis, was indicted in Aug. 2009 for allegedly conspiring "with others to provide financial assistance as well as personnel to al-Shabaab."  Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group linked to al Qaeda, has claimed at least one deadly, high-profile attack in Uganda during the 2010 World Cup, and is suspected of planning to expand its operations to attacks on the U.S. homeland.

According to prosecutors, the arrest of 45-year-old Omar came out of "Operation Rhino," described as an "investigation that focused on the disappearance of young ethnic Somali men who lived in the Minneapolis area and were ultimately found to have been recruited to fight with al-Shabaab back in Somalia."  Omar is accused of not only recruiting the young men, but also providing them financial assistance to acquire weapons and travel to Somalia for training.  Though born in Somalia, Omar was given permanent resident status in the U.S. in 1994.

Once in Somalia, the "travelers" were housed in al-Shabaab safe houses and trained by senior al-Shabaab and al Qaeda members.  Omar was tracked down and arrested in the Netherlands in November 2009.  After being held for months, he was extradited and appeared in federal court in Minneapolis Monday.

Omar's appearance in court coincided with the appearance of a new video from al Qaeda's new commander, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in which he urged al Qaeda followers to launch attacks on the U.S. to avenge the death of the group's former leader, Osama bin Laden.

"America today is staggering... Hunt her down wherever you may encounter her. Hunt her down to cut what is left of her corruption's tail," Zawahiri says in the video, posted online Monday.  "Hunt her down until history says that a murderous country spread corruption in the earth so God sent his faithful to her to make an example out of her."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar102011

Pirates Charged In Death Of American Yachters

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(NORFOLK, Va.) -- Fourteen accused pirates -- 13 from Somalia and one from Yemen -- appeared in a federal courtroom in Norfolk, Virginia, Thursday afternoon after being indicted for the hijacking of a yacht off the coast of Africa that led to the deaths of four Americans in February.

Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said the men were charged with piracy, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and using a rocket-propelled grenade during the kidnapping.

"The lead count is piracy, which carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted," MacBride told ABC News. "The indictment...alleges that at least three of the pirates murdered the Americans without cause, without provocation, did so intentionally."

The suspects have not been charged with murder, but McBride said the investigation is ongoing and that additional charges are possible.

The men were turned over to the Justice Department Thursday after being held by the U.S. military since the attack on the 58-foot yacht called Quest in the Arabian Sea on Feb. 22, 2011.

The men allegedly attempted to hold four Americans hostage for ransom, but the yacht's owners, Jean and Scott Adam of Marina del Rey, California, and their friends Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay of Seattle were shot and killed before the U.S. Navy could negotiate a deal.

Despite the high level of piracy in the waters off East Africa in recent years, the Adams and their friends were the first Americans known to have died in a pirate attack in the region.

The Navy received an S.O.S. call from the Quest, saying that men had boarded the vessel. In response to the call, the USS Sterett began tailing the Quest.

Two of the alleged pirates came aboard the Sterett to negotiate, but while negotiations were underway, the Navy said, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired toward the Sterett. Gunfire was then heard aboard the Quest.

U.S. Navy SEALs boarded the Quest and found two pirates dead as well as all the Americans. The alleged pirates have claimed that the violence was started by the Navy.

The weapons charge, stemming from the RPG attack, carries a minimum sentence of 30 years, while kidnapping can mean a life sentence.

MacBride told ABC News that the military had taken a fifteenth pirate, a Somali, into custody, but he turned out to be a juvenile who had no role in the attack so he was not charged.

In November, five Somali pirates were convicted in the same federal court on piracy charges stemming from an attack on two U.S. Navy ships, the USS Ashland and the USS Nicholas. They are scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Tuesday
Feb222011

Four Americans Killed on Pirated Yacht Off Somalia

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Four Americans taken captive by pirates on their yacht off Somalia have been killed.

Jean and Scott Adam, of California, were sailing the world on a Christian mission to distribute bibles when their yacht, the 58-foot S/V Quest, was ambushed by pirates in the notoriously dangerous waters nearly 300 miles off the Somali coast. With the Adams was another couple – Phyllis MacKay and Bob Riggle, of Washington State.

U.S. forces boarded the Quest on Tuesday after hearing shots fired on board. All four Americans were found dead of apparent gunshot wounds.

"We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest," said Gen James N. Mattis, U.S. Central Command Commander.

Two pirates were killed by U.S. forces during Tuesday's raid; another two were found dead onboard. Thirteen pirates were captured. U.S. Central Command believes a total of 19 pirates were involved in the yacht’s hijacking.

As the group approached the waters off the Horn of Africa, they cut back using their radios and satellite systems so their location couldn’t be tracked by pirates, but they were still found.

U.S. forces had been monitoring the pirated yacht by air and sea for nearly three days since its capture.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov252010

Somali Pirates Face Life Sentence for Piracy Against US Ship

Photo Courtesy - US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marc Rockwell-Pate(NORFOLK, Va.) -- In the first piracy trial in the U.S. since 1820, five Somali pirates were convicted by a federal jury in Virginia Wednesday of acts of piracy against the USS Nicholas.

“Today marks the first jury conviction of piracy in more than 190 years,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.  “Today’s conviction demonstrates that armed attacks on U.S.-flagged vessels are crimes against the international community and that pirates will face severe consequences in U.S. courts.”

The men were taken into U.S. custody in April after a failed piracy attempt against the U.S. warship, which they had mistaken as a merchant vessel, off the Horn of Africa.

Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Wali Dire, Abdi Mohammed Gurewardher and Abdi Mohammed Umar all face a mandatory life sentence.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Somali Pirates Face Life Sentence for Piracy Against US Ship

 

(NORFOLK, Va.) – In the first piracy trial in the U.S. since 1820, five Somali pirates were convicted by a federal jury in Virginia Wednesday of acts of piracy against the USS Nicholas.

 

“Today marks the first jury conviction of piracy in more than 190 years,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Today’s conviction demonstrates that armed attacks on U.S.-flagged vessels are crimes against the international community and that pirates will face severe consequences in U.S. courts.”

 

The men were taken into U.S. custody in April after a failed piracy attempt against the US warship off the Horn of Africa that they had mistaken as a merchant vessel.

 

Mohammed Modin Hasan, Gabul Abdullahi Ali, Abdi Wali Dire, Abdi Mohammed Gurewardher and Abdi Mohammed Umar all face a mandatory life sentence.

 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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