Local news

Terrorism suspect studied at Eastern

Former Cheney resident in custody in Minnesota

A Somali-American indicted in an international terrorist plot lived in Cheney and attended Eastern Washington University.

Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, 25, is in federal custody, accused with Salah Osman Ahmed, 26, of providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy.

The indictment was unsealed Monday in a U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn.

Investigators accuse the two of recruiting soldiers from within Minnesota’s community of Somali immigrant families to join al-Qaida-linked militants who wanted to establish an Islamic state in the Horn of Africa country. As many as 20 young Minnesota men are believed to have joined. Family members say at least three of the missing men are dead.

Isse studied economics at Eastern Washington University from January 2003 to at least December 2007 but never earned a degree, college spokesman Dave Meany said. Federal investigators contacted campus police about a year ago looking for Isse, Meany said.

Attorneys for Ahmed and Isse didn’t respond Tuesday to phone messages or e-mails seeking comment. Family members told a community advocate they believed Isse was cooperating with authorities; neither prosecutors nor the FBI are talking about the case. Ahmed was scheduled for a detention hearing Thursday.

The criminal activity occurred between September 2007 and December 2008, the indictment alleges. The indictment also accuses Ahmed of taking a flight from Minneapolis to Amsterdam on Dec. 6, 2007, bound for Somalia, then lying about it when questioned by investigators in July and December 2008.

Isse has criminal convictions in Cheney Municipal Court for unlawful issuance of bank checks in 2005 and minor in possession of alcohol in 2003. Property records show he had at least three addresses in Cheney between February 2005 and February 2007.

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