US woman charged with aiding Somalia's al-Shabab

Al-Shabab fighters in Mogadishu, Somalia - 23 August 2010
Image caption Al-Shabab controls much of central and southern Somalia

A California woman has been charged with aiding the Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab, the US Justice Department has said.

Nima Ali Yusuf, 24, was arrested in San Diego and charged with conspiring to help the group.

The US government lists al-Shabab as a terrorist organisation. The al-Qaeda-linked group and its allies control much of Somalia's south.

The country has had no functioning government since 1991.

Ms Yusuf is the fourth person to be charged in the past month in San Diego with helping the militant group.

She was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and a foreign terrorist organisation as well as making a false statement to US officials when she denied sending money to Somalia.

Three San Diego men were indicted on similar charges earlier this month.

They are accused of having worked with former al-Shabab military leader, Moalim Aden Hashi Ayro, and continuing to fund-raise and transfer money to the group even after his death in a US airstrike in 2008.

It was not immediately clear if the two sets of arrests were linked.

A representatives from a San Diego-based African relief group which collects and sends clothes to Somalia said that Ms Yusuf would sometimes volunteer in their office, according to AP.

Earlier this month the US banned all cargo flights from Somalia after a plot by militants based in Yemen who hid two bombs inside printers destined for Chicago.

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