Monday, November 15, 2004

USA: 19-year-old wanted to take over Somalia

A 19-year-old kid from Washington state has been charged with trying to help the Somali group Al-Ittihad Al-Islamiya. The US placed the group on its list of terrorist groups after 9/11.

The young man, Mark Robert Walker, confessed that he was planning to buy night-vision goggles and bulletproof vests for the group. He was carrying $2,100 when he was caught.

Walker was arrested after his college roomate told the authorities that Walker was communicating with terrorist groups through the Internet.

It appears that Walker was strangely fascinated by Somalia. He left the following message in his 2004 senior year highschool yearbook ...
My plans for world supremacy are in order. They entail taking over Somalia and working outward, but I should not divulge the exact details of my cunning strategy. In case the reader is not present to witness my future heroic death, here is my death poem: ephemeral flash/ of grenade exploding/ all shall pass this world. (source)
Initially, US officials suspected Al-Ittihad Al-Islamiya was involved in the 2002 attack on an Israeli owned hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. That attack turned out to have been the work of an al Qaeda cell. According to a UN report published a year ago, this is the same al Qaeda cell that was responsible for the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania back in 1998. The cell regrouped in Somalia after those attacks.

This might be of some interest ... soon after the attack on the Mombasa hotel, the following article appeared in the Observer arguing that Al-Ittihad Al-Islamiya was unlikely to have been involved in the attack.

Al-Ittihad al-Islamiya is also known as Islamic Union.