Somali Teen From Minnesota Reportedly Killed in Homeland

CNN, June 7, 2009

A Somali teen who left Minnesota to return to his native country last November has been reported killed.

The 17-year-old, who was not named, was reportedly killed Friday in artillery fire in the violence-ravaged nation’s capital of Mogadishu, said the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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The teen was among a group of young Somali-American men who left Minneapolis last year and were feared recruited by the extremist group, al-Shabaab, that has ties to al Qaeda, according to the U.S. State Department.

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Al-Shabaab, also known as the Mujahedeen Youth Movement, was officially designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government in March 2008.

In October, Shirwa Ahmed, 27, a Somali-American who had been radicalized by al-Shabaab in his adopted home state of Minnesota, traveled to Somalia and blew himself up and 29 others.

The incident, the first-ever suicide bombing by a naturalized U.S. citizen, raised red flags throughout the U.S. intelligence community.

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The potential recruitment of young Somali-American men has been made possible by “a number of factors that come together when a dynamic, influential and extremist leader gains access to a despondent and disenfranchised group of young men,” Andrew Liepman, deputy director for intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center, said earlier this year.

Many refugees, he said, “lack structure and definition in their lives” and are “torn between their parents’ traditional tribal and clan identities, and the new cultures and traditions offered by American society.”

[Editor’s Note: Other stories about al-Shabaab are listed here.]

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