US men charged with aiding Somalia's al-Shabab

Image caption, Al-Shabab controls much of central and southern Somalia

Three California men have been charged with aiding the Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab, the US Justice Department has said.

The three San Diego residents are alleged to have provided money and other support for the group.

The US government lists al-Shabab as a terrorist organisation. The al-Qaeda-linked group and its allies control much of Somalia's south.

The country has had no functioning government since 1991.

The suspects - Basaaly Saeed Moalin, Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud and Issa Doreh - were arrested on Sunday and Monday.

They are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country and related offences, said the US attorney's office in San Diego.

Other arrests

Specifically, the men are alleged to have worked with former al-Shabab military leader Moalim Aden Hashi Ayro, who was killed in a US airstrike in 2008.

The indictment against them says Mr Moalin co-ordinated fund-raising and money transfers to al-Shabab with the other two men at the direct request of Ayro.

The three continued to transfer funds to al-Shabab after his death, the indictment says.

Mr Moalin was ordered on Tuesday to be held without bail pending a detention hearing set for Friday while the other two are to face arraignment hearings on Wednesday.

Fourteen other US residents, most of them of Somali origin, were charged with aiding al-Shabab.

The group has claimed it carried out twin bombings in Uganda that killed 76 people in July. Uganda provides troops for a African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

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