At the request of US authorities, Dutch police have arrested a 43 year old Somali national in Dronten, the Netherlands, for suspected involvement in jihadist activities. The man had previously been resident in Minneapolis in the United States and is believed to have been in the Netherlands since December 2008. He was arrested at an asylum seeker’s center. Associated Press reports that US authorities suspect Omar of bankrolling the purchase of weapons for Islamic extremists and helping other Somalis travel to Somalia in 2007 and 2008. They have requested his extradition.
The president of Somalia on Sunday denounced the recruiting of young men from Minnesota’s huge Somali community for terrorist activity in his war-ravaged homeland, and said he plans to work with the U.S. government to bring those still alive back home.
President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed spoke with The Associated Press while visiting the Minneapolis area, where authorities believe as many as 20 young Somali men — possibly recruited by a vision of jihad to fight — returned to the impoverished nation over the last two years.
At least three have died in Somalia, including one who authorities believe was the first American suicide bomber. Three others have pleaded guilty in the U.S. to terror-related charges.
”We believe this is a wrong action, that these young men were wronged, they were robbed out of their life. Their parents were wronged,” Ahmed told the AP through an interpreter. ”The laws of the United States were violated. The security of Somalia was violated. So we condemn (them) without reservation.”
Four men arrested in Kenya for allegedly plotting terror attacks were released from detention in the Netherlands on Friday. The men were arrested near the Somalian border in July, thought to be in transit to a jihadist training camp and later deported to Belgium before extradition to the Netherlands. “We have not yet received any information from Kenya concerning their alleged terrorist activities”, public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told the German Press Agency dpa. “Therefore we have no legal grounds to extend their detention.” The men have been released without condition.
French security agent kidnapped by insurgents in Somalia last month said he escaped while his captors slept, then walked five hours through one of the most dangerous cities in the world to safety at the country’s presidential palace.
Marc Aubriere, who was seized along with another agent in July 14, denied reports that he killed any of his captors during his escape. Mr. Aubriere and another agent were kidnapped from a hotel in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, then split up between the rebel groups al-Shabab and its ally Hizbul-Islam. The second hostage was still being held.
The three Dutch citizens and Moroccan with Dutch residency arrested in Kenya have been placed in detention in the Netherlands. A court in Rotterdam on Friday ordered their detention, a court official said. All four were to be kept in custody for 14 days, lawyer Vincent de Winkel told AFP. Following their arrest in July the men were expelled from Kenya to Belgium, and extradited to the Netherlands on August 5, 2009. They were arrested at the Somalian border allegedly travelling to a jihadist training camp.
Four men have been arrested in Belgium on a Dutch warrant following their expulsion from Kenya. The men were detained last Friday at the border of Kenya and Somalia. “They are alleged to have been on their way to a jihadist training camp”, the prosecution service in the Netherlands said in a statement. An investigation has been launched in the Netherlands regarding their “possible involvement with terrorism” and connections to the group al-Shabab. Police have searched the homes of two men in the Hague, and authorities have requested their extradition to the Netherlands.
The suspects’ backgrounds remain unclear: while the Dutch foreign affairs ministry identified the suspects as three Dutch citizens and a Moroccan with residency status, the prosecutors cited by AFP identified all four as Dutch nationals. News agencies also vary in their profiles, as Dutchnews.nl “reports them to be three Dutch Moroccans and one with a Somali background; NRC Handelsblad reports ‘three Dutchmen and a
Somali with residence in the Netherlands’”. There appears to be consensus that all four are aged 21.
Hope that talks with Islamist rebels in Somalia might lead to the rapid release of two French agents has receded amid conflicting reports over the status of negotiations. The pair, French defence officials on a mission to support Somalia’s transition government, were seized from a Mogadishu hotel room and are believed to be in the hands of the rebel militia. A senior member of the Shebab proclaimed that the French pair would be charged with spying and tried under Islamic law in a Sharia court. Some locals have suggested the hostage-taking is in retaliation to a recent trial against Somali piracy in Paris.
Two French nationals kidnapped after gunmen stormed into a hotel in Mogadishu are now being held by a Somali al-Qaeda-linked group, according to reports. The two French security advisers will be tried under Sharia law, claims an official from their captors, the Islamic al-Shabab militia. The unnamed spokesperson said they would be tried for spying and “conspiracy against Islam”.
Reuters, citing rebel sources, said the hostages were initially given to Hizbul Islam, one of the Islamist groups fighting the Somali government. They had handed one hostage over to al Shabaab earlier in the week, and the other on Thursday night. The men were abducted at the Sahafi Hotel in the capital while on a mission to train the Somali government forces that are fighting Islamist forces. Al Shabaab — which is on the United States’ terror list — wants to overthrow Somalia’s transitional government and implement a more radical version of sharia.
Concerns about racial profiling and other questionable tactics used to investigate the possible terrorist recruitment of Somalis living in the United States are prompting some Muslim leaders in Saint Louis and elsewhere to limit their cooperation with the FBI.
Federal agents are intensifying their efforts to make connections and conduct investigations within the Somali community across the US, as concerns grow that some are being recruited to radicalization and association with al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists. About two dozen teenagers and young men have disappeared from the Minneapolis area, and returned to the Horn of Africa over the past two years, according to the FBI. Some critics say that what the FBI calls community outreach to bridge closer ties to US-Somali communities, actually involved the use of coercion, threats, and intimidation. “The Somali Muslim community in particular feels they are under siege by law enforcement,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Some Muslims living in Finland are not satisfied with their Islamic education in schools, as critics say that the teachings are too closely tied to one particular sect. Finnish public schools are required to offer lessons in general Islam – i.e., teachings that are agreeable with all Muslims and sects. However, in the city of Turku, Shi’I Muslim parents say that all of the city’s teachers are giving instructions that are dominated by Sunni teachings. The issue is especially relevant in the Lausteen School in Turku, where nearly half of the students are from immigrant families that are mostly from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, and Kosovo. The school’s headmaster Lauri Tiikasalo says he is not qualified to judge the quality or direction of the Muslim classes at the school, pointing out a general shortage of Islamic education teachers across the country.