By City News Service
A 28-year-old former San Diego resident was among 14 people charged with helping a Somalia-based terrorist group, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
Jehad Serwan Mostafa, aka Ahmed, Emir Anwar and Awar, is accused of conspiring to provide material, including himself as personnel, to terrorists; conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group al-Shabaab; and providing material support to al-Shabaab.
A U.S. citizen and former resident of San Diego, Mostafa faces up to 15 years in federal prison if convicted, but he is not in custody and is currently believed to be in Somalia, according to authorities.
In all, four separate indictments were unsealed in the District of Minnesota and Alabama as well as the Southern District of California. The arrests and charges were announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, as well as other prosecutors.
"The indictments unsealed (Thursday) shed further light on a deadly pipeline that has routed funding and fighters to the al-Shabaab terror organization from cities across the country,'' Holder said. "While our investigations are ongoing around the country, these arrests and charges should serve as an unmistakable warning to others considering joining terrorist groups like al-Shabaab - if you choose this route you can expect to find yourself in a U.S. jail cell or a casualty on the battlefield in Somalia.''
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California said the group continues to recruit terrorists.
"Through Internet propaganda and the like, al-Shabaab continues to increase its efforts to radicalize and draw foreign recruits to carry out its terrorist attacks," she said. "These recruiting efforts have the unfortunate potential to influence individuals of any citizenship, in any community."
An indictment unsealed in the District of Minnesota alleges that 10 people provided financial support and personnel, including themselves as fighters, both to a conspiracy to kill abroad and to al-Shabaab.
An affidavit previously filed in the case alleges that, in the fall of 2007, U.S. citizen Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax, 33, and others met at a Minneapolis mosque to phone co-conspirators in Somalia to discuss the need for Minnesota- based co-conspirators to go to Somalia to fight.
The affidavit also alleges that Faarax attended a subsequent meeting in Minneapolis where he encouraged others to fight in Somalia and told them how he had experienced true brotherhood while fighting jihad in Somalia.