New Al-Shabaab message urges jihad in Canada

An al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group calling for terrorist attacks in Canada and a host of other countries around the world has been “on the radar” of Canada’s spy agency.

MOGADISHU, Somalia — An al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group calling for terrorist attacks in Canada and a host of other countries around the world has been “on the radar” of Canada’s spy agency.

Al Shabaab issued the threat in an audio tape allegedly made by a Somalia-American who blew himself up during an attack on an African Union base in Somalia’s capital on Saturday, killing at least 10 people.

In the tape, posted on the website Somalimemo.net, a young man identified as Abdisalan Taqabalahullaah, urged Muslims to carry out attacks against non-Muslims around the world.

“My brothers and sisters, do jihad in America, do jihad in Canada, do jihad in England, anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia,” the voice said. “Anywhere you find (unbelievers), fight them and be firm against them.

The Canadian government declared al-Shabaab a terrorist organization last year, following reports it was attempting to radicalize and recruit young Canadians.

“For the Canadian authorities al-Shabaab has been on the radar screen,” said Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former senior intelligence official at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

“They are very efficient at recruiting,” said Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who now heads a private corporate security company.

“We know that they have been among us right here in Canada, they successfully recruited some young Canadian Somalians to go back to Somalia … to fight with them.”

Michel Juneau-Katsuya said although it’s unlikely the group has the “intention or capability to mount an attack outside of Somalia” he suggested merely influencing people to act could pose dangers.

“You don’t need a lot of people to be capable to do something quite dramatic and significant,” he said, noting there are many young men in the Somali-Canadian community who have never had a purpose in their life and may have filled that void by embracing al-Shabaab’s beliefs.

The observation is echoed in a recent CSIS report that says it believes that in 2009, several Canadians left for terrorist training camps in Somalia, demonstrating “the attraction for some of travelling abroad for training and becoming ensconced within groups co-ordinating and planning violent ’jihad’ against the West.”

U.S. authorities estimate at least 20 American passport holders have joined the insurgents in Somalia.

About 9,000 African Union peacekeepers supporting Somali government troops have almost pushed al-Shabaab from the capital of Mogadishu.

Earlier this month, Kenya opened a second front, sending hundreds of soldiers across the border into southern Somalia.

Somalia has not had a functioning government in more than 20 years.