Minnesota U.S. Attorney: St. Cloud Somali Leaders Great to Work With Preventing Terror Recruitment
ST. CLOUD - Minnesota was thrust into the national spotlight earlier this week when six local men were charged with conspiracy to try to join ISIL in Syria.
The criminal complaint says the men tried to reach countries near Syria by flying from airports in San Diego and New York City, but were stopped.
At a press conference on Monday, U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger said Minnesota has a terror recruitment problem and that communities must work together to prevent it.
Luger was in St. Cloud on Thursday. He says there isn't much concern about terror recruitment in Central Minnesota, compared to the Twin Cities.
"Right now it's primarily located in the Twin Cities, that's where we are focused-but everybody needs to be vigilant and the people I've met within the Somali community outside of the Twin Cities, they get that."
Luger says Minnesota needs to work to provide more opportunities for Somali youth, so they aren't swayed towards terror groups.
"Some of the solutions are the ones the leaders of the Somali community have presented to us-youth programming, after school programming, more mentoring of Somali youth, job opportunities."
Luger says he's met with Somali leaders in St. Cloud and that they have been great to work with to prevent local terror recruitment.
"Nobody wants to be known for this, nobody wants their community attached to this. The people who are most committed to ending terror recruitment in Minnesota are the Somali leaders that I've worked with."
Luger was in St. Cloud on Thursday morning, discussing investment fraud awareness.
Authorities say a handful of Minnesota residents have traveled to Syria to fight with militants in the past year and at least one has died.
-This story includes information from the Associated Press.