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U.S. charges San Diego woman with helping Somali extremists

By Michael Martinez, CNN
  • A 24-year-old San Diego woman is charged with conspiring to help Al-Shabaab
  • Al-Shabaab is an Islamic extremist group in Somalia
  • Group is at war with Somalian government and wants strict Islamic law

(CNN) -- A San Diego, California, woman has been indicted on charges of conspiracy to provide money and personnel to terrorists and the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabaab, federal authorities said Monday.

Nima Ali Yusuf, 24, was also indicted for making false statements to federal agencies in a matter involving international terrorism, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy in southern California said.

On September 22, Yusuf allegedly told an FBI agent and a Customs and Border Protection officer that she hadn't sent any money to anyone in Somalia in the past year, which authorities alleged were falsehoods, according to the indictment.

Al-Shabaab has been waging a war against the Somalian government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or Sharia. Somalia hasn't had a stable government since 1991, and fighting between the rebels and government troops has added to the impoverished east African nation's humanitarian crisis.

Just last week, Al-Shabaab publicly executed two teenage girls after accusing them of being spies for the Somali government, the group said.

The conspiracy charges each carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, authorities said. The charge of making false statements to a government agency in a matter involving international terrorism carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine.