Canada to ban militant Somali Islamist group

Sun Mar 7, 2010 8:50pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada will list al Shabaab -- a Somali-based Islamist militant group which recently pledged allegiance to al Qaeda -- as a "terrorist group" to prevent it from operating or seeking funds, the Canadian government said on Sunday.

Canada said it took action after it received reports from the Somali community that Al Shabaab has attempted to radicalize and recruit young Canadians.

"This government ... is determined that terrorist groups do not receive support from Canadian sources," Vic Toews, Canada's minister of public safety, said in a statement.

The listing prohibits Canadians from knowingly dealing with assets Al Shabaab owns or controls. It also makes it a criminal offense to knowingly participate in, contribute to, or facilitate certain activities of the group.

Britain's interior minister announced a similar move this month.

Western security agencies say Somalia, which has not had an effective central government for nearly two decades, has become a safe haven for Islamist militants.

Al Shabaab, which controls large parts of south and central Somalia, said last month it had joined "the international jihad of al Qaeda".

(Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson, editing by Stacey Joyce)

<p>A protestor holds the flag of Somali rebel group al Shabaab during a demonstration outside the Jamia Mosque in Kenya's capital Nairobi, January 15, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya</p>