A Canadian has been arrested in Somalia for allegedly planning to bomb leaders of a moderate political faction, according to local media reports that identified him as a member of the militant group Al-Shabab.
Abdifatah Mohamad Ibrahim appeared in court yesterday in the central Galgudud region, where authorities showed his Canadian passport to spectators, according to Radio Garowe and the Somali-language news site allpuntland.com.
The reports said he was arrested March 8 by clan militias loyal to Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama, which has been battling Al-Shabab. Authorities are investigating whether he was attempting to assassinate top Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama officers.
One report said he was arrested while driving a vehicle filled with explosives. He has been charged with five offences, including that he was trained to use explosives, that he planned bombings and that he intended to travel to Burao in Somaliland to “commit acts of insecurity,” Radio Garowe reported. He has allegedly admitted that he was a trained member of Al-Shabab.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was not aware of any recent arrests of Canadian citizens in Somalia but Ottawa has no diplomatic presence in the country. Consular officials in Nairobi were seeking further information on the matter.
“Due to the highly volatile and unpredictable nature of the security situation in Somalia, the government of Canada’s ability to provide consular assistance to Canadians in distress is severely restricted,” said Daniel Barbarie, a Foreign Affairs spokesman.