US citizen indicted for backing Shabaab attacks in Kenya

January 12, 2016 12:32 pm
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Maalik Jones, 31, faces multiple terror-related charges which include taking part and supporting terror attacks/FILE
Maalik Jones, 31, faces multiple terror-related charges which include taking part and supporting terror attacks/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – An American citizen was on Monday charged in a US court for supporting and taking part in Al Shabaab terror activities in Kenya.

Maalik Jones, 31, faces multiple terror-related charges which include taking part and supporting terror attacks.

“Jones was charged with providing material support to Al Shabaab,” the indictment indicates.

He is accused of travelling to Somalia to receive military training and to join the Al Shabaab terror group in carrying out attacks in Kenya.

“Jones also became a member of al Shabaab’s specialised fighting force, Jaysh Ayman, and participated in combat against soldiers of the Kenyan Government on behalf of Al Shabaab,” the charge sheet states.

The charges were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, US Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Commissioner William J. Bratton of the New York City Police Department.

Part of the evidence in the custody of the court includes two videos in which Jones is seen holding a firearm together with other militants blamed for an attack on a Kenyan Defence Force base in Lamu last June.

“As alleged, Jones travelled to Somalia to fight on behalf of Al Shabaab, learning to fire an AK-47 and rocket propelled grenade. He then used this training to attack the Kenyan Government, fighting on behalf of this terrorist organisation,” New York Field Office and Commissioner William J. Bratton of the New York City Police Department stated.

The attack on the military camp at Baure area in Lamu County left over 10 Al Shabaab members dead and snatched lives of two KDF soldiers.

READ: Al Shabaab dares attack on Lamu KDF base, 11 killed

Jones is said to have also sworn his allegiance to the group which according to Bharara, has declared America as a target of its lethal attacks.

The charge sheet indicated that Jones travelled from New York to Kenya through Morocco and the United Arabs Emirates in 2011.

He was late last year arrested by the Federal Bureau Investigators (FBI) while trying to travel to Yemen.

According to the US authorities, Jones will face American justice in a Manhattan Federal Court for working with the Al Shabaab group.

He faces charges of “conspiracy to provide material support to al Shabaab, conspiracy to receive military type of training from Al Shabaab, possessing and using firearms during a crime of violence.”

The US authorities said Jones was likely to face a maximum of life imprisonment if convicted; in addition, the firearms offence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years.

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