According to NBC News, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment on Wednesday (December 16), which charges Cholo Abdi Abdullah (pictured) with multiple crimes related to a conspiracy to commit terrorism. Investigators say Abdullah, 30, is a Kenyan national with ties to a Somalia-based terror group called Al-Shabaab.
The Al-Shabaab terror organization is a very dangerous group of Islamic radicals. It is closely linked to Al-Qaeda, the Muslim extremist group responsible for orchestrating the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Al-Qaeda (founded by the late Saudi renegade Osama bin Laden) spawned Al-Shabaab in the 1990s.
This happened during Bin Laden’s war against American forces in Africa.
In Arabic, Al-Shabaab means “the youth.” During the time Bin Laden was living in Sudan after being exiled from his native Saudi Arabia, young African fighters from neighboring countries linked with Al-Qaeda. Those fighters were victorious alongside Bin Laden’s so-called “Afghan Arab” jihadists who drove U.S. soldiers out of Somalia in 1994.
This battle was depicted in an American Hollywood film called “Blackhawk Down.” According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Southern New York, Abdullah was taking direct command from a senior leader of Al-Shabaab. This unnamed leader allegedly instructed Abdullah to receive flight training in the Philippines from 2017 to 2019.
Prosecutors say that Abdullah completed the training necessary to receive a commercial pilot’s license. They also claim the Kenyan national researched information to help Al-Shabaab achieve its objectives in the U.S. Those plans included hijacking commercial jetliners, breaching airport security areas, and flying a plane into the tallest skyscraper in the U.S.
Abdullah was arrested in the Philippines last year after the government there and the FBI collaborated to find out what he was planning to do. He will be extradited soon to be arraigned on the charges he faces in New York, according to NBC.
More information about this case will be available nationally in the coming days.