- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 8, 2013

Al Qaeda’s branch in Somlia has had the greatest success of any of the terror network’s franchises in recruiting Americans, and a video it released Wednesday shows why.

Though he was killed four years ago, Troy Kastigar of Minnesota remains an articulate recruiter for al-Shabab, al Qaeda’s franchise in Somalia that has been part of a long-running Islamic insurgency against the internationally backed but very weak central government in the capital, Mogadishu.

“This is the real Disneyland,” Kastigar says in a video.

Using his nom de guerre, Muhammad al-Amriki (“Mohammed the American”), Kastigar traveled to Somalia in November 2008 and was “martyred” in 2009, according to the video.

IntelCenter, a private firm that tracks extremist media, provided the video and an accompanying analysis to The Washington Times.

“You can come here and join us,” Kastigar says on the video, urging others to follow in his footsteps.

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The video tells his story and that of two other Somali-Americans — Dahir Gure and Mohamud Hassan. According to the video, Gure left Minnesota in October 2007 and was killed in June 2009. Hassan left Minnesota in November 2008 and was killed in September 2009.

The three were among as many as 20 male Somali-Americans between the ages of 17 and 27 who left their Minneapolis homes in 2007 and 2008 to travel to Somalia and join extremists.

“We walk amongst the lions. We sleep under the moon and the stars. They’re our lamp and the wind rocks us to sleep,” Kastigar says in the video.

“You need to come here,” he tells American Muslims.

• Shaun Waterman can be reached at swaterman@washingtontimes.com.

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