Friday, March 27, 2015

CRIME

Ex-Girlfriend from Hell

Gacaliso hore ee NAARTA aheed – Saaxiibkeedii hore ayay wacaysay Boqolaal jeer

Gabar lagu magacaabo Elizabeth Segundo McClain ayaa lagu dacweynayaa sidii adkeed ee ula dhaqantey saaxiibkeedii hore.

Bilooyin ayay maalin walba ay soo wacaysay boqolaal jeer iyadoona ugu danbeyntii gaari marsiisay hooyada saaxiibkeedii hore.

Elizabeth oo 22-jir ah ayaa hada lagu amrey ineysan ka agdhawaan Karin saaxiibkeedii hore oo u jirsato in ka badan 200 oo yard iyadoona lagala soconayo GPS.

McClain iyo Saaxiibkeeda ay isku soo noq-noqonayeen muddo saddex sano markasta oo kala tagaan ayaa ugu danbeyntii si aan soo noqosho laheen u kala tageen bishii September iyadoona wiilka oo 25 jir ah uu ka codsaday ineysan mardanbe la soo xiriirin, balse gabadha ayaa soo wacaysay maalin walba.

Maalin, maalmaha kamid aheed ayay soo wacday 750-jeer iyadoona si ku cel-celin ah ugu soo direysay fariin qoraaleed, waxana ay ugu hanjabaysay iney waxyeeleen doonto isaga iyo qoyskiisa.

Wiilka ayaa isku dayay inuu xanibo wicitaanadeeda, iskana badalo numberkeeda balse waxa ay helaysay number walba uuqaato, waxana uu dhowr jeer uu dacwad geeyay Booliska.

Bishii lasoo dhaafay ee November, 26-dii ayaa markii ay usoo dirty 50-fariin qoraaleed oo maran, McClain waxa ay ku wargalisay iney gaariga ku dhufatey hooyadiisa, kadiba soo raacisay qoraal kale oo ku dhahayso “Waa side nolosha, LOL”

Hooyada ayaa hada waxa ay ku jirtaa qolka hospital-ka ee xaaladadaha adag, waxana ka jajabay dhowr lafood iyadoona dhaawacyo khatar ahna ay gaareen.

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A Minneapolis man accused of helping send young men through a terrorist pipeline from Minnesota to Somalia was convicted Thursday on all five terrorism-related charges he faced, including one that could land him in prison for life.

The jury returned its verdict against Mahamud Said Omar after deliberating for about eight hours over two days. Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis has not set a sentencing date.

Omar, 46, nodded quietly as an interpreter gave him the news. As he was being led from the courtroom, he held his hands up over his head and smiled at his brothers and other supporters.

His brothers declined comment after the verdict. But one of his defense attorneys, Jon Hopeman, said Omar will appeal. Hopeman said he has a list of issues he might raise on appeal, including his claim that prosecutors did not disclose all of Omar’s phone calls that were secretly recorded by the FBI.

B. Todd Jones, the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, was pleased with the verdict.

“There are some lines that you just cannot cross,” Jones said. “One of those lines is, you cannot provide material support to a designated terrorist organization such as al-Shabab. That message should be crystal clear. If you choose to do that, there are some serious ramifications of that decision.”

Omar, a mosque janitor, was the first man to stand trial in the government’s investigation into what it says was the recruitment of more than 20 men who have left Minnesota since 2007 to join al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terrorist group linked to al-Qaida. Al-Shabab has been fight the fledgling U.N.-backed government in Somalia, which was backed by troops from neighboring Ethiopia, who were seen by some Somalis as an invading force.

Prosecutors said the investigation is ongoing. They would not elaborate.

Prosecutors said during the trial that Omar helped some recruits from Minnesota’s Somali community, which is the largest in the U.S., buy plane tickets to Somalia and gave others $1,000 to buy weapons while they were staying in an al-Shabab safe house. Prosecutors said he also went to that safe house himself and stayed there about a week.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Docherty, one of the prosecutors who tried the case, said funneling young men to the Horn of Africa, where some lost their lives and some took the lives of others, cannot be tolerated.

“We’ll be very pleased if today’s verdict plays any part in bringing that kind of behavior to a stop, because it is the kind of thing that just cannot go on in this community,” Docherty said Thursday.

During closing arguments Wednesday, Docherty told jurors that Omar moved the young men as “cannon fodder” through a pipeline to al-Shabab.

The FBI agent overseeing Omar’s case, Kiann VanDenover, testified that at one point in questioning, Omar claimed to be a “team leader” for the terror group.

Omar has denied the allegations. One of his attorneys, Andrew Birrell, portrayed him in closing arguments as a “frightened, little man” who has struggled to adapt to life in the U.S. and who lacks the skills and know-how to organize anything. Birrell said the government’s case was based on the corrupt testimony of al-Shabab recruits who repeatedly lied and who testified only because their plea deals required it.

Trial testimony provided insights into the long-running investigation, including how the young men were recruited and what happened when they got to Somalia and joined al-Shabab, which is blamed for much of the violence in the East African country.

Omar was among 18 men charged in the Minnesota case. Seven have pleaded guilty, while others are presumed to be out of the country. At least six of the men who traveled to Somalia from Minnesota have died, with more presumed dead, according to family members and the FBI.

“This case right here is not closure on the phenomenon of al-Shabab and it’s not closure on our vigilance with making sure that those who cross that line are scrutinized appropriately,” Jones said.

He said the verdict provides some justice to those affected by the tragedy of men being recruited from their families. He said the government is taking “very seriously” reports that more men recently have departed for Somalia.

“What I would ask at this juncture is that everybody continue to work together to stop this from happening,” he said.

Omar Jamal, a community advocate who has acted as a spokesman for the family, said the evidence revealed in court showed how some people in Minneapolis had deep ties to the terror group in Somalia.

“It was very clear there are people behind this operation who have been misleading and feeding these youth religious extremism and nationalism,” Jamal said. “They did it in a very meticulous, smart way. And hopefully this will not be the end of this investigation.”

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AP

guilty somali father

Scroll Down for Video of Defense and Prosecution closing Arguments

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A State Supreme Court jury has found Ali Mohamed Mohamud guilty of second-degree murder charge.

State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns charged the jury and they began deliberations at 11:45 a.m. Burns instructed the jurors to decide if the prosecution proved that Ali Mohamed Mohamud caused the death of his stepson Abdifatah, and did so with the intent to cause his death.

After three hours, the jury filed back into the courtroom and announced their verdict: guilty.

While deliberating, the jury requested to see Mohamud’s confession. After that, they requested to see the medical examiner’s report. Since the report was not put into evidence, jurors were unable to receive a copy of it. They also wanted the definition of the second-degree murder charge.

With those items in hand, the jurors went back to the jury room and the three alternate jurors were dismissed.

With this verdict, jurors determined Mohamud intended to cause the death of his 10-year-old stepson when he duct taped his mouth shut, tied him with an electrical cord, and brutally beat him with a rolling pin more than 70 times, causing his skull to shatter and his head to be severed from his neck.

The defense attorney plans to file an appeal. Erie County DA Frank Sedita said he hopes Mohamud dies in jail.

He faces 25 years to life when he’s sentenced on November 15.

Videos: Defense Closing Argument.

Prosecution Closing Argument

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WIBV Buffalo

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 Dacwadan oo noqonaysa tii ugu horreysay oo qof Soomaali ah lagu eedeeyo ayaa ka socota maxkamad ku taalla magaalada Buffalo ee dalka Mareykanka, iyadoo maxkamadda ay ka hor hadashay hooyadii dhashay wiilka la dilay oo 10-jir ahaa.

Cabdifataax Maxamuud oo ah wiilka la dilay ayaa waxaa la sheegay in la garaacay in ka badan 70-jeer 16-kii bishii Abriil ee sannadkan, xilli uu doonayay inuu safar ku tago magaalada Kampala ee xarunta dalka Mareykanka oo uu aabbihii ku nool yahay.

“Wuxuu igu yiri nabadgalyo Maama,” ayay tiri Shukri Bile oo ah hooyada dhashay wiilka la dilay oo ilmaynaysay iyadoo ka hadlayay xiligii isugu dambeysay iyada iyo wiilkeeda, markaasoo ahayd xilli galab ah oo ay u socotay shaqo nadafaadeed ay ka haysay xafiis ku yaalla bartamaha magaalada Buffalo oo xuduud la leh dalka Canada.

Marqribnimadii la dilayay wiilka ayaa waxaa la sheegay in Cali Maxamed Maxamuud oo ahaa adeerka qabay wiilka hooyadii ayaa la sheegay inuu watay midi uu kala soo baxay jikada, iyadoo la sheegay in wiilka yar la garaacay in ka badan 70-jeer.

Cali Maxamuud ayaa la sheegay inuu u sheegay Shurki Bile markii ay kasoo laabatay shaqada xilli dambe oo habeenkii ah inuu baxayo, iyadoo booliisku ay markiibta daba-gal ku sameeyeen maqnaashaha Cabdifataax, iyadoo la arkay markaas kaddib dhiig badan oo dabaqa kasoo daadanaya, waxaana jidkiisa ku yaalla dhaawacyo.

Adeerka lagu eedeeyay dilka wiilka ayaa ah 40-jir ku noolaa dalka Mareykanka 10-sanadood, waxaana warbixinta ku saabsan dilka uu u geystay wiilka uu adeerka u ahaa dhowr jeer daabacay wargeysyada kasoo baxa magaalada Buffalo.

Abuukaataha Cali Maxamuud oo ah ninka dilka geystay oo lagu magacaabo, Lana Tupchik ayaa sheegay in Cali Maxamuud uu diiday dacwadda loo haysto ee ah inuu dilay wiilka uu adeerka u ahaa.

Inta badan eedeysanuhu wuxuu eegayay xaaskiisa intii ay dooddu socotay, iyadoo mar la weydiistay inay soo aragto ninkeeda ay tiri ma doonayo inaan arko wajigiisa, xilligaas oo uu ku jiray qol yar oo maxkamadda ku dhex-yaalla.

Wiilka la dilay ayaa ku dhashay Isbitaal ku yaalla dalka Uganda lix maalmood kaddib markii ay dhaceen qaraxyadii 9/11 ee lala beegsaday daarihii ganacsiga Adduunka. Iyadoo Shukri Bile iyo wiilkeeda oo afar jir ah ay bishii Feberaayo ee sannadkii 2002 galeen dalka Mareykanka oo ay illaa xilligaas ku nool yihiin.

somali father

After his arrest, murder defendant Ali-Mohamed Mohamud sent his wife a letter asking for her forgiveness.

She threw the letter away.

Monday, Shukri Bile cried through much of her husband’s first day on trial, refusing to look at him or even utter his name from the witness stand. Mohamud is fighting the charge that he bludgeoned to death her 10-year-old son and his stepson, Abdifatah, in the family’s Guilford Street home.

“I don’t know why he did this,” Bile said of her husband.

“What I did, it happened,” he said in his letter, according to Bile, a refugee from Somalia who testified with the assistance of an interpreter.

That was one of his reported confessions. Another occurred at Mohamud’s workplace.

Shortly after the boy was killed, Mohamud, a security guard employed by U.S. Security Associates, called his work supervisor at home and asked him to come to The Buffalo News, where Mohamud had been assigned to work the past couple of years. When Louis Yoseph, the supervisor, arrived at the paper, Mohamud handed him money, papers and some property.

“It was really strange,” Yoseph said. “He was giving me directions on how to handle his money.”

Mohamud told his boss to give the money to his children – not his wife. Mohamud mumbled something about all the problems he was facing, Yoseph said.

And he said, “I killed my kid,” Yoseph testified.

Mohamud then ate a doughnut and drank water before the police arrived to arrest him.

Prosecutors said Mohamud also admitted to police that he had beaten his stepson to death. Homicide detectives are expected to testify in the next day or two about what he told them after his arrest.

Prosecutor John Feroleto, in his opening statement, previewed a horrific murder case in which Mohamud is alleged to have stabbed, suffocated and beaten to death the fifth-grader from International Preparatory School on April 17.

“This man, this adult, this stepfather, bound his hands with an electrical cord, stuffed a sock inside his mouth and sealed it with duct tape,” Feroleto said as he looked at Mohamud. “Abdi was powerless. He was powerless to stop this man from taking his life.”

“This defendant brutally murdered a 10-year-old boy,” the prosecutor told jurors. “This case doesn’t require guesswork or mystery solving.”

Mohamud told Buffalo police where to find the evidence, Feroleto said, adding that “the evidence in this case is overwhelming.”

Defense lawyer Lana V. Tupchik did not mention Abdifatah during her seven-minute opening statement, or suggest another scenario about how the boy died. But she reminded jurors that Mohamud is owed the presumption of innocence.

“Mr. Mohamud denies this accusation,” Tupchik said.

Abdifatah arrived in the United States in 2004.

His mother brought him along with her other children. He was born in a refugee camp in Uganda; his mother and her other children had fled Somalia after her husband died in the clan warfare in that country.

Abdifatah was a well-liked boy at school who received A’s and B’s on his report card. And he liked watching cartoons and playing video games like other boys his age.

But his life ended cruelly.

Abdifatah was struck about 70 times with a hardwood baker’s rolling pin.

The blows fractured the boy’s skull, broke his ribs and caused two dozen distinct injuries to his hands and as many to his legs, sustained as the boy sought to block the blows, Feroleto said.

A police officer and the boy’s stepbrother found Abdifatah in the basement, in a fetal position, his hands and mouth duct-taped.

Prosecutors say his stepfather taped a sock in the boy’s mouth during the beating to stop him from screaming.

Mohamud bound him with electrical cord to keep him from running, Feroleto told jurors. The stepfather replaced the sock with another after the boy vomited during the beating, he said.

“This wasn’t some accident,” Feroleto said. “This was murder.”

Mohamud also stabbed the boy with a steak knife and tried to drown him in the bathroom, Feroleto said.

Some of the most graphic testimony of the day came from police investigators.

Homicide detective Michael Mordino described the crime scene in the basement.

Bloody footprints were found on the floor and steps, Mordino said. Blood was splattered across 15 to 20 feet of a wall; blood was found on pipes on the ceiling.

There was no part of the boy’s body that was not bruised or bloodied, Mordino said, responding to questions from prosecutor Thomas M. Finnerty.

Police found a piece of the boy’s skull on the floor next to his body. The back of the child’s head was “caved in,” and his brain was exposed through a hole the size of a golf ball, Mordino said.

The prosecution intends to show jurors a police video of the basement, as well as crime-scene photographs.

Defense lawyer Kevin Spitler objected, but State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns allowed in many of the images from the photos and video, ruling that just because the images may be gruesome does not preclude admitting them as evidence.

Bile, Abdifatah’s mother, and a stepbrother testified that neither even saw the boy’s stepfather act violently toward the boy before Mohamud’s arrest last April.

Hussein Waris, 24, the stepbrother, called the boy “the best child anyone could have.”

Waris testified he was often at his mother’s Guilford Street home but had never witnessed any violence.

He described Mohamud as “a normal stepfather.”

“He was treating him just like the other kids,” Waris said, referring to how Mohamud treated his two young children who also were living in the home at the time.

In her tearful testimony Monday, Bile said she had never seen her husband strike Abdifatah.

A neighbor, driving along Sycamore Street on that fateful April day, recalled seeing Abdifatah running along the street. He had run away from home.

“I saw his stepfather running on the other side [of the street],” said Olive Ndayishimiye, who lives across the street from the Mohamud home.

She pulled over and gave Mohamud a ride so he could catch up to the boy.

When they caught up to the boy, Mohamud grabbed the boy’s hand and led him to the vehicle. “He said he doesn’t want to go home,” she recalled.

“The stepfather was saying he doesn’t want to do his homework,” she said.

Ndayishimiye told the boy he could come over to her home to study and wait for his mother.

Mohamud said, “I won’t do anything,” she recalled.

“You always say that,” the boy replied, she testified.

The boy did not study at her home, but went home instead. The neighbor said Mohamud looked “upset and tired” as she left the two outside their home, but Mohamud never raised his voice.

Bile was returning home from work at about 10:45 p.m. when she had a brief exchange with her husband. “He didn’t want to do his homework,” Mohamud told her, she said.

Mohamud was carrying bags on his way out of the home and refused to answer her questions: Where are you going? What happened?

“Don’t ask me what happened,” he said, according to her testimony. Then he drove off.

She could not find her son. That’s when she called police.

Waris and a police officer – who was investigating the report of the missing boy – looked in the bedrooms and other rooms for the boy. Then they went into the basement, where they found him.

She recalled the last time she saw her son alive. He came home from school and ate some food she prepared for him the afternoon of April 17.

He went to his room to do his homework, she said.

Before she left, he asked her if she was heading to work.

Yes, she replied.

“Bye, mom,” he said.

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Buffalo News

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As Toronto police try to find and prosecute those responsible for shootings that left six young men of Somali descent dead in just four months, there could be lessons learned from Minneapolis police, whose recruitment strategies are helping bring down crime in that city’s Somali enclave.

All six men in Toronto were fatally shot since June, and only one arrest has been made — that of Christopher Husbands, who has been charged with murder in the death of Ahmed Hassan at the Eaton Centre on June 2.

Police and relatives of the other victims have made numerous pleas for information in those deaths, but there have been no breakthroughs.

Abdulle Elmi, whose cousin of the same name was shot and killed on July 5, wants answers.

“We want the community to come forward,” said Elmi, said, speaking of the approximately 18,500 people in the Toronto area of Somali origin.

Watch Video

“It’s not a matter of the community not assisting the police, it’s more the community and the police not developing an understanding, cohesion or any form of trust to have a very constructive conversation about how to deal with these situations.”

Until about five years ago, Minneapolis was struggling with a similar problem among its large Somali-American community, a significant portion of which is concentrated in the Cedar-Riverside neighbourhood — also known as “The Motherland” — in the south of the city.

In mid-2006, the police force deployed Mohamed Abdullahi, an officer who came to the United States as a refugee in the 90s from Somalia, in south Minneapolis, including the Cedar-Riverside neighbourhood. He was joined in 2008 by another officer of Somali descent, Abdiwahab Ali.

Since 2007, several key crime statistics, including robberies, thefts, burglaries and aggravated assaults, dropped in the area. There were no homicides in the area in the past two years, although a triple homicide occurred in nearby Seward in 2010. And Minneapolis police are attributing the drop in crime in part to the efforts of the two officers.

“People thought: ‘Well, you have this large Somali population, and you really don’t understand them, and you know, they’ve got different cultural ethnicities or centrics that you really don’t understand. How could I as a Caucasian?’” said Richard Stanek, the sheriff of Hennepin County, where Minneapolis is located.

“What we’ve told them is it doesn’t matter which culture it is. Once you have that robust community outreach and you build those trusted partnerships and relationships, we fall back on our community-oriented policing philosophy and strategy in order to build those relationships with the community itself.”

‘It’s all about respect’

The team assigned to Cedar-Riverside, known to locals as officers Mo and Ali, walk the beat and patrol the neighbourhood in their cruisers. CBC News came along with the officers during their patrols in September, and the two displayed an intimate knowledge of the neighbourhood and a familiarity with its residents.

“You kind of humanize yourself. Later on they don’t see you as wearing blue, it’s like ‘Hey, what’s up guy?’ They’re more open to telling you stuff, because they’re more comfortable,” said Abdullahi, who lived in the area before joining the police department.

On one drive through the neighbourhood, Ali noticed what he believed was a new car parked on the street, which he identified as belonging to a suspected gang member who was arrested but never convicted on a murder charge.

A few minutes later, the officers come across the alleged gang member playing basketball. Speaking in Somali, the officers urge the men to stick to basketball for the day, which they said they would do.

“See how we’re having a regular conversation with him? That’s weird, yeah? But it’s all about respect. Nothing personal,” said Abdullahi.

And on another patrol of the neighbourhood, the officers are approached by a man who says he is willing to identify a gunman who fired shots in the area two nights earlier.

Speaking in Somali, he says he didn’t call 911 at the time, but he’s happy to give details to the two officers.

Increased enforcement not always the answer

One neighbourhood resident praised the two officers for turning around the area.

“They are good people. I think they are the neighbourhood’s saviours. They help out the neighbourhood a lot,” said Abdishakur Ahmed, who came to Minneapolis from Somalia 18 years ago and has family in Toronto.

“Before they came here, there was a lack of communication between the [Minneapolis police department] here and the young folks. Now we’ve come to an understanding and we can see the neighbourhood is really safe and is a good environment to walk around in.”

Police in Toronto also have a strategy to target troubled neighbourhoods. The Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy has teams of specially trained officers engage with high-crime neighbourhoods by day and conduct patrols and step up enforcement at night.

But Toronto police said they don’t keep track of the ethnic origin of their recruits, although police noted they do have a dedicated language line that callers who don’t speak English are directed to.

Flooding a neighbourhood with police, however, is not a tactic the Minneapolis police employ, although Stanek, the sheriff, says it helps to a degree when there has been a spate of crimes in the area.

“That is not the way to police a community or a particular ethnicity. And the reason is is because it’s very suppressive,” said Stanek.

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CBC Canada

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Dhallinyarada ku nool dalka CAnada qaarkood ayaa ku dhex habaabay nolosha qaabka daran ee Tuugta iyo gangsters-ka ay ku nool yihiin taasoo inta badan ku dambeysa dhimasho iyo qabri.
Daawo muuqaalkan laga soo duubay iyagoo isu dhaaranaya.

02OMAR

His face masked by a checkered scarf, the figure in the video seen in a federal courtroom Wednesday ran through the woods, crawled on his belly under barbed wire, trained in martial arts and fired an assault rifle. He faced the camera and issued a call to arms to young Muslims living in the West.

“That’s me,” said Kamal Said Hassan, a star prosecution witness in the trial of a Minneapolis man accused of helping send more than 20 Minnesota men to fight with terrorists in their native Somalia. “Basically I’m saying to the people abroad, ‘Come join us and come fight. Come join us and defend the religion of Allah.’”

Prosecutors played two terrorist propaganda videos with the Minnesota men in them, including Hassan. Hassan led the jurors through a video showing a training camp and a video of a real ambush of Ethiopian soldiers. He said he and other Minnesotans were involved in the ambush.

Mahamud Said Omar is on trial facing five charges related to helping a terrorist organization and conspiring to kill and maim people overseas. He is accused of encouraging and giving money to some of the men who left Minnesota in 2007 and 2008 to fight in Somalia for Al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terrorist group.

Much of the testimony in the case has been about other men, including Hassan and two other government witnesses who joined Al-Shabab. Hassan, 27, pleaded guilty to making false statements to a federal officer and faces up to nine years in prison. He hopes for a shorter sentence as a result of his cooperation.

Mahamud Omar, a 46-year-old part-time janitor, claims he went to Somalia to get married and doesn’t support Al-Shabab. His family defended him Wednesday.

“We believe Omar is pretty much caught in the middle of this mess,” said family spokesman Omar Jamal, first secretary of the Somali mission to the United Nations. He said the family is anxious but trusts the jury and the judicial system.

Hassan testified that he was chosen to speak in the video because Al-Shabab leaders wanted the invitation to come from the Minnesota recruits, and Hassan spoke with the best American accent.

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Star Tribune

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A man has been found guilty of murdering another man who was found critically injured in a park in west London.

Sade Samanter, 21, was convicted of murdering Abdullahi Osman in Ealing on 11 August last year by a jury at the Old Bailey earlier.

Ibrahim Dualeh, 34, admitted murdering Mr Osman, at a hearing on 2 October.

Samanter, of Southall, Middlesex; and Dualeh, of no fixed address; will be sentenced at a later date.

Officers discovered Mr Osman, from Uxbridge, collapsed in Dean Gardens, The Broadway, West Ealing.

Sade Samanter, left, and Ibrahim Dualeh will be sentenced at a later date

The 31-year-old Somali national was taken to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington where he died two days later.

Det Insp Simon Ashwin, of the Metropolitan Police, said Mr Osman had been assaulted during an unprovoked, drink-induced attack.

He said a third man, Mohamed Jeylani, 24, was charged with grievous bodily harm but the case was discontinued.

Mr Jeylani was released with no further action.

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BBC

Missing Somalis

A Plymouth man who went to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab gave jurors a detailed accounting of his recruitment, indoctrination and training Wednesday morning, Oct. 10.

But he told them little that incriminated the man federal prosecutors had called him to testify against, Mahamud Said Omar.

Kamal Said Hassan, 27, testified that he’d heard another man say that Omar had contributed money to buy AK-47 assault rifles while in Somalia, and that he spoke to Omar briefly once on the phone while he was in the country.

“He said he was going to join us later on when we go to the training camp,” Hassan said. Omar never went to the camp, which a group of almost 100 al-Shabaab recruits had to clear out of a jungle.

Hassan is the third and last “traveler” — a man who left the Twin Cities to take up arms for al-Shabaab — to testify against Omar. Omar, 46, of Minneapolis, is accused of three counts of conspiracy and two counts of providing aid to terrorists.

The State Department’s February 2008 designation of al-Shabaab as a foreign terrorist organization made it a crime to aid the group.

Testimony in Omar’s trial in federal court entered its sixth day Wednesday. Hassan is the 13th witness prosecutors have presented.

Omar is the only one of the 18 defendants in the FBI’s “Operation Rhino” investigation to go to trial. The government investigated the exodus of almost two dozen men with Twin Cities ties to return to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab.

The group seeks to oust Somalia’s government and impose its own brand of militant Islamic theocracy on the East African country.

In his testimony, Hassan said an al-Shabaab leader in Somalia told the recruits that the group’s aim was to conquer Somalia’s neighbors and keep going “all the way to Jerusalem.”

Justice Department attorney William Narus had called Hassan to the stand late Tuesday, and as the witness took the stand at the start of Wednesday’s court session, Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis seemed to express some unease about vagueness in the man’s testimony the day before.

Hassan had told jurors about various planning meetings he and other Somali men had had in Minneapolis before “travelers” started leaving for Somalia, and while he reeled off names of those at the meetings and where some took place, he gave few other details.

“I’d like to know, and I think the jury has a right to know, what happened at those meetings,” the judge told him. Davis also reminded the witness — who has pleaded guilty to federal charges in the case — that he would be the judge who sentenced him.

When Hassan began to say that some meetings were held secretly at a local mosque, Davis interrupted him.

“I know where they’re at,” the judge said. “I’d like to know what happened at those meetings. You’re going to have to tell me what happened at those meetings.”

Hassan began a reply. “At one of the first meetings….”

“This is not like going down to Valleyfair,” Davis said, referring to the amusement park near Shakopee. “How did you get convinced to join?”

Hassan’s family left Somalia in 1991, the year a coup left the country without a government. He explained that during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 2007 (from mid-September to mid-October that year) a group of men began meeting at a Minneapolis mosque.

They met without the mosque’s leadership knowing about their plans, he said.

He told the judge that at those gatherings, Salah Osman Ahmed — who has also been charged and has testified — recruited him and the others by telling them about the Ethiopian troops that had been called in by Somalia’s transitional government to recapture the capital of Mogadishu, which the Islamic Courts Union and al-Shabaab had seized.

The courts union dissolved (its leader later became the transitional government’s president) but al-Shabaab soldiered on. When the transitional government called in Ethiopian troops, many in the country viewed them as invaders and non-believers. (Somalia is officially Muslim; Ethiopia is predominately Christian.)

Ahmed told the group about alleged atrocities committed by Ethiopian soldiers. Hassan said Ahmed and others told the men it was their religious duty as Muslims and patriotic duty as Somalis to fight the Ethiopians.

Davis was still unconvinced how speeches in a meeting in Minneapolis could persuade a man with a junior-college education to kill.

“Tell me how you can make a leap from talking to somebody to going over and killing somebody,” the judge asked.

Hassan began answering and then said, “Your honor, I can’t explain.”

“Well, you’re going to have to tell me,” the judge told him.

The witness said Ahmed told him it was his duty to fight “and I decided to go.”

“And kill,” the judge said.

Hassan replied that he knew he’d be going to Somalia and would be involved in “fights and battles.”

“And kill,” the judge pressed.

“Yes, your honor.”

Hassan said it wasn’t just one conversation that persuaded him to go.

“I thought it was going to be an adventure, traveling around Somalia,” when Narus resumed his questioning. “It felt like it would be nice to go back and see the country. I thought it would be an adventure.”

Davis jumped back in, asking the witness who seemed to be the ringleader of the group. Hassan identified him as Omer Abdi Mohamed, 27, of St. Anthony. Confusingly, he was known in the Somali community as “Mohamed Omar.”

Hassan said that while Mohamed played up the religious aspects of why the men should fight, another man, Khalid Mohamed Abshir, appealed to their sense of Somali nationalism.

“I thought I was being a good Muslim and Somalian by joining these men and going over there,” Hassan said.

Hassan was charged in February 2009 with providing material support to terrorist, providing support to a foreign terrorist organization, and making false statements to federal agents.

A week later, in a plea deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to the false-statements charge; the other two crimes were dropped. He’s been in jail awaiting sentencing since then.

Omer Mohamed was indicted in November 2009 with two counts of conspiracy and a single count of providing material support to terrorists. In July 2011, he pleaded guilty to one of the conspiracy counts and he is awaiting sentencing.

Of the 17 “Rhino” defendants other than Omar, seven have entered guilty pleas, eight are considered fugitives, one is confirmed dead and another is believed to be dead.

Hassan’s testimony continues Wednesday afternoon.

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Pioneer Press

David Hanners can be reached at 612-338-6516.

us courthouse

A Minnesota man who became known as the first American suicide bomber in Somalia was leery about joining a terrorist group in his homeland at first and later tried to leave, but was stopped by the terrorist leaders, according to one of the men who had been with him.

Salah Osman Ahmed testified Tuesday in federal court in Minneapolis that the bomber, Shirwa Ahmed, left a training camp in southern Somalia with the hopes of returning with him to the United States. But leaders of Al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terrorist group that ran a safehouse for its recruits, had taken his passport and would not give it back, said Salah Ahmed.

Salah Ahmed is one of the witnesses for the U.S. government in the ongoing trial of Mahamud Said Omar, 46, of Minneapolis. Omar faces five charges related to helping a terrorist organization and conspiring to kill and maim people overseas. He is accused of encouraging and giving money to some of the 20 or more Minnesota Somali men who left to fight in a holy war in Somalia.

He said he managed to escape by telling camp leaders that he needed to seek treatment for a rash in the southern port city of Kismayo. Another Minnesota recruit, Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, was also able to leave the camp with another excuse. Isse testified last week and also said that Shirwa Ahmed had tried to leave Al-Shabab.

“Shirwa wanted to come with us to Kismayo because he wanted to come to the United States, but they didn’t let him…. Instead he went back to Mogadishu so he was trapped. He couldn’t come back,” Salah Ahmed told jurors.

Salah Ahmed continued testimony that started Friday about his travel in 2007 to Somalia to fight against Ethiopian troops who had entered Somalia. He told jurors that while he was staying at an Al-Shabab safehouse in Somalia, a call came from Shirwa Ahmed who was in Saudi Arabia at the time. He had been planning on joining the other Minnesota recruits in Somalia, but was having second thoughts.

“He called and said, ‘I’m not coming to Somalia. I spoke to some scholars in Mecca and they said whatever’s going on in Somalia is not something that is good… I think you guys have been tricked,’” Salah Ahmed said. He said another Minnesota recruit, Khalid Mohamed Abshir, and a woman at the safehouse known as “mother” got on the phone and persuaded him to come.

Later, after he had returned safely to the United States, Salah Ahmed learned what became of Shirwa Ahmed. FBI officials, using DNA samples and fingerprints, determined that he died in a coordinated series of suicide bombings on Oct. 29, 2008 in northern Somalia that killed more than two dozen people.

“I was thinking that he was the last person I ever would have thought who would do something like this,” Salah Ahmed said. “Maybe he got forced, I don’t know.”

Omar’s lawyers are cross-examining Salah Ahmed Tuesday afternoon.

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Star Tribune

Allie Shah • 612-673-4488

Mahamud-Said-Omar

Four days into the prosecution’s case against a man who allegedly helped finance the Somali group al-Shabaab, at least one thing has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt: The investigation was huge.

Secret judges issued secret warrants to intercept an untold number of phone calls; the number of calls remains classified. While some federal agents culled computerized immigration records and airline manifests, others went to Somalia and dug up remains of a suicide bomber to check fingerprints.

Even the government’s presence in the courtroom is big: Three assistant U.S. attorneys, a Justice Department lawyer and an FBI agent sit at the counsel table.

Nearly halfway into the government’s case against Mahamud Said Omar, a witness has claimed that the Minneapolis man gave “pocket money” to a man bound for Somalia, that he contributed money to an al-Shabaab safe-house and that he spoke in code when talking on the phone about the alleged conspiracy.

Still to come: Statements Omar made while in custody, records showing the number of calls from his phone to men who traveled to Somalia, and records of three money transfers he allegedly sent to recipients in the East African country.

Omar, 46, of Minneapolis, has maintained his innocence. He is heard saying in a phone conversation played for the jury: “I am also thinking about trusting God and put my trust in God … and tell the truth to whoever questions me.”

Omar’s trial enters its second week Tuesday, Oct. 9,

in federal court in Minneapolis. Prosecutors have called 10 of their 22 potential witnesses, and as with each day so far, court will begin only after a federal agent walks a bomb-sniffing dog, Sunny, through the courtroom.

It is the only case to go to trial in “Operation Rhino,” the FBI’s investigation into the exodus of as many as two dozen young men from the Twin Cities to return to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab. (The operation got its name from the fact Somalia is in the Horn of Africa.)

Eighteen men have been charged so far. Seven have entered guilty pleas. Eight are fugitives. One is known to be dead — FBI agents dug up his grave to confirm his fingerprints and DNA — and another is believed dead.

Defense attorney Jon Hopeman, who spent more than a decade as a federal prosecutor, said even he has been awed by the size of the probe.

“It’s the biggest investigation I’ve seen,” he said. “I wouldn’t say (the) most thorough, but biggest.”

Omar was an $800-a-month part-time janitor at a Minneapolis mosque where the alleged conspiracy was hatched in the fall of 2007. He is accused of three counts of conspiracy and two counts of providing aid to terrorists.

He allegedly provided money and encouragement to young Somali men in the Twin Cities to return to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab. Islam is Somalia’s official religion, but the militant group seeks to impose extremist Islamic rule.

The State Department’s February 2008 designation of al-Shabaab as a “foreign terrorist organization” made it a crime to aid the group.

The FBI has dubbed the men who went to Somalia “the travelers,” and one of them has testified. A second will resume his testimony Tuesday, to be followed by a third.

All three have pleaded guilty to criminal charges and await sentencing. The one who finished testifying, Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, acknowledged under cross-examination that he hoped his testimony against Omar would bring him a lighter sentence.

In his opening statement to the jury, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Kovats Jr. said Omar was part of a “pipeline” that radicalized young men in the Twin Cities and helped them get to Somalia.

But so far, both Isse and the second “traveler” to testify, Salah Osman Ahmed, have identified the ringleaders and chief recruiters as two Minneapolis men, Abdiweli Yassin Isse, 27, and Ahmed Ali Omar, also 27.

Both have been charged. They are fugitives.

Abdifatah Isse and Salah Ahmed have told jurors that a group of men met secretly at a Minneapolis mosque, restaurants and elsewhere in autumn 2007 and discussed the need to fight a holy war against Ethiopian troops then in Somalia. The country’s transitional government had called in the troops to retake the capital of Mogadishu from al-Shabaab.

Both men said they knew little to nothing about al-Shabaab when they got involved and agreed to return to a country they’d left as children. They said the group kept its plans secret from mosque leaders because they knew they’d be opposed.

Omar Ali, the mosque’s director at the time, said in an interview that he and other leaders there knew nothing of the meetings.

At least one phone call hints that others may have been involved in recruiting and have not been charged. In the call, the defendant describes for Abdifatah Isse a conversation he had with someone at the mosque, and says he told the man that those returning to Somalia were doing so because of what they had been taught at the mosque.

“They follow what you taught them,” Omar said, recounting for Isse his conversation with the man, whom he described as a teacher. “You teach them day and night, so if someone leaves … then you will bear the responsibility. You are a bad boy.” Omar did not specify the objectionable teaching in the transcript.

Omar Jamal, a sometimes controversial figure in the local Somali community, says the conversation makes it appear others are more culpable than the man on trial.

“There are more, bigger fishes that we lose and are responsible for this mess,” said Jamal, now an official with the Somali mission to the United Nations. He has been attending the trial daily.

“To me, it looks like he was duped,” he said of Omar.

Jurors have heard six phone calls between Omar and Abdifatah Isse. (They speak Somali in the calls, and jurors read from English translations.) The government intercepted the calls after getting a secret warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Prosecutors haven’t disclosed how many calls were intercepted over how long a period of time.

“I’m sure there are thousands left that we haven’t been told about,” Hopeman said. “I’ve never seen a wiretap that only yielded six or seven calls. That’s just impossible. Under FISA, the defense isn’t permitted to know much.”

Indeed, the government had to declassify the calls and other evidence used at trial. Unlike defense lawyers for the other “Rhino” defendants, Hopeman and his two colleagues have not been required to get security clearances.

The six phone calls stand in contrast to last year’s trial of two Rochester women accused of raising and sending $8,600 to al-Shabaab over a 10-month period. In their case (which wasn’t part of “Rhino”) the government intercepted more than 30,000 calls.

Prosecutors played 91 of the calls at their trial as jurors followed along with English translations. An FBI linguist testified that it took a five-member team several months to go through the thousands of calls and type transcripts.

Federal agents also searched one of the women’s garbage twice a week for 10 months.

“I always said I thought they spent $2 million just in salaries to do that case, and I don’t think I’m very far off,” said Dan Scott, who represented one of the women.

The defense attorney said the government resources disclosed in the women’s case were extensive, but he wondered what it achieved other than convicting his client and her co-defendant. (They await sentencing.)

“You can’t tell everything going on below the surface, but at the surface, it was an incredible amount of work for a relatively small case,” he said.

“When you think about it, what’s the testimony been? Ethiopia is invading this war-torn country and there are young men recruited to go fight for the homeland. …

“They are young men and they are full of patriotic fervor and they are going to fight in a civil war,” he said.

David Hanners can be reached at 612-338-6516. Pioneer Express

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MINNEAPOLIS – The mother of a young Somali man who died after leaving Minnesota to fight with al-Shabab openly wept when shown photos of his body Wednesday during the trial of a man accused of directing young expatriates to join the terror group in Somalia.

Her testimony came as prosecutors began using family stories and travel records to build their case against Mahamud Said Omar, who is charged with five terror-related counts including conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege that since 2007, more than 20 young men have left Minnesota for the war-torn East African nation to take up arms with al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terror group linked to al-Qaida. Prosecutors say the men secretly met in a mosque, cars and restaurants to plan their trips.

Omar, 46, is accused of assisting some men with travel plans and providing money for weapons.

Among those men was Sheikh Bana, investigators say. He left Minneapolis in November 2008, and died in Somalia the following July.

His mother, Abayte Ahmed, quickly turned her head away and began crying when asked to look at graphic photos that appeared to show her son with a gunshot wound to his head.

“Yes, that was him,” she said through tears.

Testifying through an interpreter, she said she had no idea her son planned to leave Minnesota, which is home to the largest Somali population in the U.S. She said he called her from Somalia about eight days after he left.

“He said, ‘Mom, it’s Jamal speaking and I am in Somalia,” Ahmed said. “I kept saying, ‘When are you going to come back? When are you going to come back?’”

While prosecutors didn’t connect Omar directly to her son Wednesday, they have said in case documents that Omar accompanied Sheikh Bana to a travel agency to get his ticket.

Investigators also say Omar went to Somalia himself and stayed at an al-Shabab safe house with Shirwa Ahmed, who left Minneapolis in 2007 and became the first known American citizen to carry out a suicide bombing in a series of co-ordinated attacks in Somalia on Oct. 29, 2008.

His sister, Hibo Ahmed, also testified Wednesday through an interpreter, saying her brother never returned after making the Haaj pilgrimage in 2007. She believed he had stayed overseas to study, and she last spoke to her brother just two days before the suicide attack.

“He didn’t sound right,” she said through an interpreter. A few days later, she said, a man called her and said her brother died in a “martyr operation.”

On cross examination, defence attorney Paul Dworak pointed out inconsistencies in Ahmed’s stories. Dworak said that from the start, Ahmed had claimed her brother called her on Oct. 20, 2008 — not Oct. 27 — and only changed the date in 2011, after multiple interviews with the FBI.

Another government witness, Yonis Abdi, said his brother travelled to Somalia and never returned. He said he last saw his brother, Abdikadir Ali Abdi, on Nov. 2, 2008, noting that his brother was 17 when he left — and no one in his family has heard from him since.

Yonis Abdi said his brother had a passport but that it was still at his mother’s house in Hopkins, a Minneapolis suburb.

While questioning the witnesses, Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn Bell displayed passport applications that Sheikh Bana and Abdikadir Ali Abdi had filled out.

Both men listed the same address as a mailing address for their passport — but their relatives said their families never lived at that address. Abdi’s application also listed an emergency contact as a cousin named “Sharif,” but his brother testified he doesn’t have a cousin by that name.

Court documents show that Omar frequently goes by the name Sharif.

Dworak, the defence attorney, asked Abdi if he often went to the Somali mall or prayed with his brother. Abdi said they prayed together.

“In all that time, you never saw Abdikadir with my client did you?” Dworak asked.

“No,” Abdi replied.

Meanwhile, an FBI affidavit obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press shows that six of the men who investigators believe left Minneapolis for Somalia have been confirmed dead.

The AP has been reporting that four men had been confirmed dead while others were presumed dead, based on information from relatives and the FBI. But an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent in late August increases the number of confirmed dead to six.

The affidavit also says some of the Minnesota travellers are now in leadership positions or hold significant duties within al-Shabab.

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Calgary Herald

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