The State Department confirmed today that an American accused of terror recruitment and providing support to Al-Shabaab was picked up in Somalia.
Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, who goes by Miski, “surrendered to the federal government of Somalia” on Sunday, press secretary John Kirby told reporters at the State Department today.
“Miski is a legal permanent resident of the United States and is in the custody of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency in Mogadishu,” Kirby said. “The U.S. mission to Somalia is discussing this case with the Somali federal government. The United States does not have an extradition agreement with Somalia. And I’m afraid I don’t have any more details on this particular case at this time.”
Hassan is one of several Minnesota men wanted by the FBI since being charged in 2010 with providing material support to Al-Shabaab.
He told Voice of America that he didn’t surrender and he wasn’t one of the Al-Shabaab defections to ISIS. He claimed that he left the Somali al-Qaeda affiliate in 2013.
“Hassan says that last month, al-Shabab members raided his home, blindfolded and terrorized his family. He says he escaped and was walking in the forest two weeks ago, near the southern town of Barawe, when villagers spotted him and informed government forces, who arrested him,” VOA reported. “Hassan, who is believed to be 27 years old, was born in Somalia but spent part of his life in Minnesota, the state where the U.S. government settled thousands of Somali refugees and immigrants in the 1990s…Hassan says he left Minnesota in August 2008 because of the Ethiopian intervention in Somalia.” He was a high school senior at the time.
Hassan told VOA he has “no intention of coming back” to the United States.
The Minnesota man said he worked for Al-Shabaab’s media and preaching departments. He’s been prolific on social media, including encouraging an attack on the Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, just 10 days before the event.
“The brothers from the Charlie hebdo attack did their part. It’s time for brothers in the #US to do their part.” Two gunmen opened fire outside of the event.
San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook reportedly had contact with individuals in Al-Shabaab; authorities are reportedly digging into whether Hassan was involved.
Hassan told VOA he had no contact with the husband-wife team who killed 14 people last week.