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Al Shabaab Associate Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to Conspiring to Support and Receive Military-Type Training from a Foreign Terrorist Organization

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 13, 2012
  • Southern District of New York (212) 637-2600

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”); and Raymond W. Kelly, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced that MOHAMED IBRAHIM AHMED pled guilty today to conspiring to provide material support to and receive military-type training from al Shabaab, a terrorist organization based in Somalia. The U.S. Department of State has designated al Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. AHMED pled guilty before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed traveled a long way from his home in Sweden to Somalia, where he took up the cause of al Shabaab, a deadly terrorist organization and sworn enemy of the United States and its people. Protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism both at home and abroad is the highest priority of this office, and today’s plea is yet another victory in that fight.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said: “The guilty plea entered today, by a man so dedicated to a known terrorist group that he traveled to Somalia to train with al Shabaab and give them financial support, emphasizes the need for continued vigilance in the fight against terrorism worldwide. The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners here and abroad to thwart would-be terrorists.”

NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “This plea is important to the ongoing efforts by the NYPD and federal partners to deter terrorist organizations and their followers, who continue in their attempts to put New York City and the United States at risk.”

According to the superseding information filed today in Manhattan federal court and prior court filings:

In early 2009, AHMED left his home in Sweden and traveled to Somalia in order to support and receive military-type training from al Shabaab. Al Shabaab has used violent means to destabilize the government of Somalia and to force the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. The group has recruited foreign fighters to join in its “holy war” in Somalia, resulting in men from other countries, including the United States, traveling there to engage in violent jihad. Al Shabaab has also made numerous public statements demonstrating its intent to harm the United States.

While in Somalia, AHMED contributed approximately 3,000 Euros to al Shabaab, received training and instruction with respect to bomb-making and bomb-detonation, and purchased an AK-47 rifle, additional magazines, and two grenades. AHMED subsequently provided the rifle and magazines to an al Shabaab military commander.

AHMED, 38, a native of Eritrea and a lawful resident of Sweden, was arrested in Nigeria in November 2009. On March 6, 2010, AHMED was transferred to the custody of the United States and subsequently transported to the Southern District of New York for prosecution.

AHMED pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization (al Shabaab) and one count of conspiracy to receive military-type training from a Foreign Terrorist Organization (al Shabaab). He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Castel on November 2, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York-based Joint Terrorism Task Force—which principally consists of special agents of the FBI and detectives of the New York City Police Department. He also expressed gratitude to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division, the Office of International Affairs, and the U.S. Department of State for their extraordinary assistance in the case. Mr. Bharara also thanked the Governments of Sweden and Nigeria for their assistance in this matter.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Benjamin Naftalis, John P. Cronan, Rachel P. Kovner, and Christopher LaVigne are in charge of the prosecution.

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