A 34-year-old Alexandria taxi driver has been indicted for conspiring and attempting to provide material support to al-Shabaab, a militant group designated operating in Somalia and designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.
Alexandria resident Liban Haji Mohamed, 34, was charged Wednesday by a grand jury at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse.
Mohamed, a naturalized United States citizen, allegedly left the United States in July 2012 and planned to join al-Shabaab in East Africa, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release. Al-Shabaab is responsible for orchestrating numerous attacks, like the 2013 shooting at a Nairobi shopping mall and the 2017 bombings in Mogadishu, Somalia.
The group has also actively worked to recruit Americans like Mohamed. Mohamed was working as a cab driver in Alexandria before he left the United States through Mexico to travel to Somalia, where he was detained by authorities, according to the Washington Post. The FBI added Mohamed to the Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2015.
“According to court documents, Mohamed allegedly attempted to recruit an undercover agent to travel to Somalia to provide combat training to al-Shabaab fighters,” the Justice Department said. “Mohamed also allegedly planned to use his own media skills to improve al-Shabaab’s propaganda machine, which it has used to recruit Westerners.”
Mohamed was allegedly a close associate of Zachary Chesser, who in 2011 was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempting to provide support to al-Shabaab, according to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department said if Mohamed is convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
“Individuals with information concerning Mohamed are asked to contact the FBI or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate,” the Justice Department said. “Tips can be submitted anonymously at https://tips.fbi.gov.”
Photo via FBI