Eritrean national admits aiding Somalia's Al Shabaab


Al Shabaab still controls much of southern and central Somalia, but is under increasing pressure from Kenyan forces in the south and Ethiopian forces in the west.



An Eritrean man has pleaded guilty in a federal court in the US to receiving military training from the Somali militant group Al Shabaab.

Mohammed Ibrahim, a 38-year-old Eritrean national and permanent resident of Sweden, was arrested in Nigeria in November 2009 and transferred to US custody four months later to face terrorism charges, Reuters reported. He could face a 10-year jail term when he is sentenced in November.

According to the BBC, Ahmed pleaded guilty Wednesday to travelling to Somalia in 2009 to learn how to construct and detonate bombs at an Al Shabaab-run camp, and also admitted donating weapons and 3,000 euros ($3,769) to the group, which formally merged with Al Qaeda earlier this year and is waging an insurgency against UN-backed Somali and African Union forces in the Horn of Africa nation.

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In a statement, Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said: "Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed travelled a long way from his home in Sweden to Somalia, where he took up the cause of Al Shabaab, a deadly terrorist organisation and sworn enemy of the United States and its people,” Bloomberg reported.

According to The New York Times, Ahmed was questioned whilst in custody by separate teams of American officials, the first of which failed to advise him of his rights, prosecutors said. He waived his rights during interrogation by a second group a week later and made incriminating statements, leaving the judge with the task of ascertaining how separate the two interrogation sessions had been kept by the US. 

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