MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man recently traveled to Somalia to join al-Shabab, a spokesman for his family said, renewing fears that the terror group is continuing to recruit Somalis living in the U.S. to return to their homeland to fight.
The investigation into al-Shabab’s recruitment of young men has been going on for years, and authorities have never ruled out that more men could be traveling from Minnesota — home to the largest Somali population in the U.S. — to join the terror group. Still, there have been no public reports of travelers from Minnesota since 2009, and the investigation has been largely out of public view for more than a year.
But in recent weeks, some Somalis here have been visited by the FBI and subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury — possible signs that the investigation has picked up. The reasons for the subpoenas were not immediately clear. Authorities would not confirm that additional men have recently traveled to join al-Shabab, and they would not say whether any increased FBI activity is connected to reports of recent departures or to the overall investigation.
But according to a spokesman for his family, 21-year-old Omar Farah left Minneapolis several weeks ago and called his aunt after his departure to say he was in the Somali town of Merca — and that he was with al-Shabab.