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WASHINGTON (AFP) “” American recruits of Somali extremists addressed a press conference in the conflict-wracked country this week to rally other youths to join their jihad (holy war), a US monitoring group said Friday.
On April 5, “two American members of the Mujahideen Youth Movement (MYM) identified as Abu-Muslim and Abu Yaxye” spoke at the news conference and acknowledged that “many” Somali-Americans are “all over Somalia to join the jihad,” said the SITE Intelligence Group.
The pair said they are “Somali youth” from the United States and are stationed near the southern port of Kismayo.
“Some of us are still in training, others are on the frontline of the jihad. Sadly a few of us are dead, one of whom carried out a suicide bombing,” said Abu Muslim, as translated by Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“We came from the US with a good life and a good education, but we came to fight alongside our brothers of (militant youth Islamic group) Shebab … to be killed for the sake of God,” one of the pair said, according to SITE.
Last month the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned US lawmakers that “radicalized clusters” of Somali-American youths as young as 12 were being recruited by Islamic terror groups.
“This is a priority for the FBI,” Philip Mudd, an official with the bureau’s national security branch, told a Senate committee hearing. “We are looking at individuals who are sending kids in the wrong direction.”
Mudd identified the Shebab group as the driving force behind the recruitment effort, and said it also has ties to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.
The Somali community in the United States numbers about 150,000 to 200,000, according to the FBI, and is centered largely on Minneapolis, Minnesota.
At the end of March SITE also made public a propaganda video made by Islamic extremists in Somalia featuring appeals to foreign recruits from an “American” fighter along with English rapping and songs.
The 31-minute video had an on-camera narrator who is identified as “Abu Mansour the American” making a pitch for new overseas recruits after praising one militant fighter killed in an apparent ambush shown on the tape.
“So, if you can encourage more of your children and more of your neighbors and anyone around to send people like him to this jihad, it would be a great asset for us,” he said on the video, according to SITE.