A Virginia man who fled the country in 2012 and was suspected of trying to recruit men to join the terrorist group al-Shabaab was indicted in a federal court on a charge of conspiring to provide material support to the terrorist group based in Somalia, prosecutors said.
Liban Haji Mohamed of Alexandria, Virginia, is a Somali-born naturalised American citizen who drove a cab in northern Virginia.
He first came to the FBI’s attention in 2010 with the arrest of Zachary Adam Chesser, at the time a 20-year-old Virginian who became enthralled with extremist Islamist views as a young man and ultimately was convicted of terror-related charges associated with al-Shabaab. The FBI has said Chesser and Mr Mohamed were close associates.
Mr Mohamed left the US in July 2012, and the FBI subsequently placed him on its Most Wanted Terrorists list.
In 2015, it was reported that Mr Mohamed was in custody in Somalia, but the US does not have an extradition treaty in Somalia.
Authorities did not immediately comment on whether Mr Mohamed had been released from Somali custody.
The US attorney’s office in Alexandria said Tuesday’s indictment accuses Mr Mohamed of attempting to recruit an undercover agent to travel to Somalia to provide combat training to al-Shabaab fighters.
Mr Mohamed also allegedly planned to use his media skills to improve al-Shabaab’s propaganda machine, which it has used to recruit Westerners, the prosecutors said.