Kenyan charged in US for recruiting fighters for Syria Islamist force


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 Somalia.

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 al-Shabaab.”

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 indictment charges.

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

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