Rebel fighters tear down a poster bearing the portrait of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad (right). A Kenyan man has been charged in a US
court for seeking to recruit fighters in Kenya to join an Islamist
rebel group in Syria. File
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
A Kenyan man pleaded not guilty in a US court on Tuesday to
charges that he sought to recruit fighters in Kenya to join an Islamist
rebel group in Syria.
Mohamed Hussein Said, described as a 25-year-old
resident of Nairobi and Mombasa, has been indicted on 15 counts
involving a conspiracy to send militants to fight alongside the
al-Qa'ida-affiliated al-Nusrah Front in Syria.
Said and his alleged co-conspirator, US citizen
and Saudi resident Gufran Ahmed Kauser Mohammed, are also accused of
seeking to wire thousands of dollars to al-Shabaab insurgents in
One of Said's recruits -- identified by US
prosecutors only as "S.M." -- is said to be the perpetrator of a grenade
attack on a bar in Nairobi.
The indictment states that Said and Mohammed
communicated via the internet with a third figure whom they believed to
be a fellow conspirator but who was actually an FBI informant.
Last January, prosecutors charge, Said sought
funds from this undercover contact "to pay the rent for fighters who
were in Kenya on the command of Abu Zubeir, the 'emir,' or leader, of
Said further made arrangements to secure travel
documents for Islamist fighters, and "planned how to transport these
fighters from Kenya and Somalia to the front lines in Syria," the
In February, US prosecutors add, Said
unsuspectingly told the FBI informant that "he had a recruit who would
be willing to conduct a martyrdom operation within the United States and
be like one of 'the 19.'"
That is a reference to the 19 al-Qa'ida operatives
who carried out the September 2001 airplane hijackings and subsequent
destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York and a portion of the
Pentagon near Washington.
Said and Mohammed were arrested in Saudi Arabia
earlier this month and flown to the state of Florida, where they
appeared in a US courtroom on Tuesday.
The presiding judge denied bail to the pair. If
convicted, each man faces a sentence of up to 15 years on each of the 15
counts in the indictment.