Matt Peterson, Austin Daily Herald, Minn. –
By Laura Yuen
Minnesota Public Radio News
MINNEAPOLIS — Four years after federal authorities in the Twin Cities began investigating homegrown recruitment for the terrorist group al-Shabab, at least two additional men slipped away to Somalia as recently as July. Federal authorities believe the Minneapolis men joined the group and are still in the East African nation.
The FBI’s confirmation this week that a terrorist conduit continues to flow from Minnesota to Somalia perplexes members of Minnesota’s Somali community, who have watched with dismay as young men have disappeared.
Among those missing is 19-year-old Mohamed Osman, who once called a leafy little cul-de-sac in south Minneapolis home.
Inside his family’s two-story house, Osman’s older cousin, Jamal Salim, recalled when the family realized that Osman, who graduated last year from Southwest High School, was missing.
“One day we’re at home, like, ‘Where is Mohamed?’” Salim said. “It’s been two days, and we’re thinking he’s out with friends. The parents are going crazy. They think he’s got arrested or something.”
Salim said Osman’s mother didn’t realize her son was in Somalia until she received a visit from the FBI. Salim says his aunt was stunned.
As were earlier waves of about 20 Twin Cities men who federal authorities say enlisted with al-Shabab, the introverted Osman was especially secretive about his plans, his cousin said.