United States - Somalia

US charges 14 over links to Somalia's al-Shebab

Reuters

Fourteen people have been indicted in the United States on charges of assisting a Somali-based Islamist group that has been linked to Al-Qaeda. Some of those charged are believed to be in Somalia fighting for al-Shebab, which claimed responsibility for a recent bomb attack in Uganda.

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US Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday that four separate indictments charge the 14 people - several of whom are US citizens -  with "terrorism violations for providing money, personnel, and services" to al-Shebab.

Two of those charged were arrested earlier in the day in Minnesota, officials said.

Al-Shebab, an Islamist extremist group that controls most of central and western Somalia, claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in Uganda's capital Kampala on 11 July, which killed 76 people.

"As demonstrated by the charges unsealed today, we are seeing an increasing number of individuals - including US citizens - who have become captivated by extremist ideology and have taken steps to carry out terrorist objectives, either at home or abroad," Holder said.

"It's a disturbing trend that we have been intensely investigating in recent years and will continue to investigate and root out.”

Meanwhile, the EU's anti-piracy force confirmed on Friday that Somali pirates had captured a freighter in the Gulf of Aden. 

A total of 24 Syrian and Egyptian crew members were on board the Syria Star, which was carrying a cargo of sugar.

It is the second ship to be seized in the Gulf of Aden this week. On Monday, bandits captured a Panamanian vessel with 23 crew on board. 

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