US accuses three with funding al Shabaab


Federal prosecutors announced charges against three men — two in the United States and one in Africa — for allegedly providing support to al Shabaab, the al Qaeda-allied rebel group based in Somalia.

In an indictment returned two weeks ago but unveiled on Wednesday, Somali immigrant Mohamud Abdi Yusuf of St. Louis was charged with four counts of providing material support to a designated terrorist organization and one count of conspiracy to structure financial transactions, US Attorney Richard Callahan said in a statement.

Minneapolis resident Abdi Mahdi Hussein was indicted on a charge of conspiracy to structure financial transactions, while Duane Mohamed Diriye in Kenya or Somalia was charged with three counts of providing material support, Callahan said.

Their transfers of anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars at a time — including US$5,000 to purchase a car — took place between February 2008 through July 2009, the indictment said.

Federal authorities in California arrested three men in San Diego this week on similar charges involving support for al Shabaab, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.

The al Shabaab militia, which seeks to impose a strict version of Islamic law throughout Somalia, has waged a bloody insurgency with other groups against the Western-backed Mogadishu government in recent years.

US officials have said many of al Shabaab’s senior leaders are believed to have trained and fought with al Qaeda in Afghanistan.