Three Women Arrested in al Shabaab Financing Conspiracy

Three women were arrested and two more are being sought in connection to an alleged financing conspiracy for the extremist Muslim group al Shabaab, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. The women arrested today were allegedly the heads of a network of mostly women that would funnel money to the insurgents in Somalia and Kenya disguised as donations to orphans and other philanthropic causes.

Two women were arrested in the United States and a third in the Netherlands; two others are being sought by authorities in Kenya and Somalia. From Reuters:

Muna Osman Jama, 34, of Reston, Virginia, and Hinda Osman Dhriane, 44, of Kent, Washington, were arrested in their homes on Wednesday, as was Farhia Hassan at her home in the Netherlands.

Two other women involved in the operation, Fardowsa Jama Mohamed who is a fugitive in Kenya and Barira Hassan Abdullahi, a fugitive in Somalia.

The Justice Department has charged the five women with one count of conspiracy and 20 counts of providing material to al Shabaab. From the Los Angeles Times:

According to court records, the defendants referred to the money they sent overseas as "living expenses," and they repeatedly used code words such as "orphans" and "brothers in the mountains" to refer to Shabab fighters, and "camels" to refer to trucks needed by the group, the Justice Department said.

Per CNN, the women face up to 15 years in prison for each count of of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

[Image via AP]