11-26-2008, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Somali men missing from Minneapolis
The Missing: Somali Men Off Twin Cities Streets, Back in Somalia
Somali community fears young men leaving to fight holy war
Last Edited: Sunday, 23 Nov 2008, 9:39 PM CST
by Tom Lyden
MINNEAPOLIS -- Young Somali men are vanishing off the streets of the Twin Cities. More than 20 have left in the last few months, and the community fears they’ve gone back to Somalia to fight in a holy war.
They’re known in the Somali community simply at The Missing. More than 20 young Somali men, between the ages of 17 and 22, who have left the Twin Cities in the last few months, without a single word to their families.
The families and community leaders believe the men have gone back to fight in a bloody civil war, in which Al Quiada is a major player.
"They're concerned emotional and in shock,” Omar Jamal, of the Somali Justice Center said. “They're completely grief stricken.
From multiple sources in the Somali community, FOX 9 has learned eight men are believed to have left on August 1, and another ten on November 4.
Flight itineraries discovered by their families show they left Minneapolis to take the winding trip back, through Dubai, Nairobi, Malindi, Kenya, where they’re believed to have snuck in by boat to Somalia.
Then, last week, five families went to the FBI, worries their kids were part of some jihad in Somalia. For their part, the FBI would not confirm or deny whether they have an ongoing investigation.
Shiek Imam Abdighani Ali is on of the few religious leaders who would discuss The Missing. He believes someone is organizing the trips.
“A lot of parents coming to us asking where their kid is going,” Ali said. “We are trying to find out who financed (the trips). They are 17 years old, $1,700 dollars and most of them didn't work."
Some of The Missing are believed to be former gang members, escaping the street violence that’s claimed the life of seven young Somali men this year. Others are in college, and some were said to be deeply religious.
The irony is their families risked everything to escape the violence and religious wars, yet something or someone is luring the young men back.
Some of their families told FOX 9 they are under pressure from law enforcement and religious leaders to not talk about The Missing.
At least one mother has received a phone call from her son. He told her he was in Somalia, but would not tell her what he was doing there.