NEW YORK (Sputnik) — The three men had served as members of al-Shabaab in Somalia from 2008 to 2012, according to court papers, until they were arrested in August 2012 in East Africa by local authorities in East Africa.
“Earlier today, Madhi Hashi, 25, of Somalia, Ali Yasin Ahmed, 30, of Sweden, and Mohamed Yusuf, 32, of Sweden, pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, al-Shabaab,” the statement said on Tuesday.
Prosecutors alleged that between 2008 and 2012, defendants Mohamed Yusud and Ali Yasin Ahmed fought against African Union forces on behalf of al-Shabaab, while defendant Madhi Hashi helped fabricate al-Shabaab propaganda.
If convicted, each of the defendants faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to militant Islamic organization al-Qaeda since 2012, and its troop strength has been estimated between 7,000 to 9,000 fighters, according to media reports.
Al-Shabaab is alleged to have been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks including the 2010 Kampala bombing in Uganda and the 2013 Westgate attack in Nairobi, Kenya.
The State Department labeled al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2008.