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Mpls. Group Combats Al-Shabaab’s Recruiting Early On

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, h...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The FBI is investigating to see if Minnesotans and Americans were involved in the terrorist attack at a Kenya mall.

But so far FBI Agent Kyle Loven said there is no specific evidence that Minnesotans were part of the attack.

Somali-American leaders also said they cannot document any local link to the Nairobi mall massacre.

“There were names that were put out on social media but from what we know at the moment, these remain to be allegations,” Mohamed Farah of the local Somali youth group Ka Joog said.

At a news conference, leaders of the nonprofit group talked about their effort to reach young Somalis through recreation, arts and education programs.

“We have to let these kids know there is no religious backing behind the actions of al-Shabaab,” said Abdul Mohamed of Ka Joog.

The group does acknowledge that al-Shabaab has been effective at targeting isolated and vulnerable young people, often through social media, with false promises.

“The youth that are recruited and go back to Somalia find out it’s not what they imagined,” Mohamed said.

Last month, al-Shabaab released a video featuring three young Minnesotans who were recruited to fight in Somalia, Muhammed Al Amriki.

In the video Al Amriki said, “this is the best place to be honestly.”

The video ends with images of Al-Amriki and another Minnesotan dead. Community leaders are hoping this video, along with the images of the devastating attack in Kenya, will hurt any efforts by al-Shabaab to recruit here.

“We must engage as much youth as we can,” Mohammed said. “We must engage more youth than al-Shabaab can engage and that is the approach we are taking.”

But this group admits they are limited in what they can do as their free summer camps have a limit of only 40 kids. Many had to be turned away.

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