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Video message purported to be from Canadian militant in Somalia turns out to be unrelated U.S. man

Somali women walk past the site of a deadly blast in Mogadishu April 14, 2013. At least 19 people were killed in the Somali capital on Sunday in bomb attacks carried out by militants linked to al Qaeda and subsequent gun battles with the al Shabaab fighters, breaking a fragile return to peace in Mogadishu.


A video circulating on the Internet that some suggested showed a Canadian militant in Somalia is, in fact, an innocuous video message from a Somali man living in the United States.

Somali sources had circulated the video suggesting it was proof that a Somali-Canadian was part of a deadly attack in Mogadishu this past weekend.

Omar Jamal, part of a group that represents the war-torn country at the United Nations, had circulated the video, saying that he was "deeply concerned" about the Canadian government not having done enough to dissuade Somali-Canadian youths from being enticed by al-Shabab's propaganda.

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He was quoted in an earlier version of this story as saying "everything is pointing to Canada."

But the man in the video surfaced Wednesday in the United States. "I was informed by my fellow Muslims that the enemy of Allah are spreading lies about me, copying my videos," the man says in a Facebook posting.

The young man in the video does not announce any impending attack. Instead he gives a rambling, weeping message to his mother.

The video was posted Wednesday by, a Web magazine for the Somali diaspora.

Militants associated with al-Shabab had stormed a court complex while wearing explosive vests last Sunday, killing at least 20 civilians before the attack was stopped.

The RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service are investigating reports that the attackers were mostly Westerners, including at least one Canadian.

Editor's note: In an earlier version of this story, some sources suggested the man in the video may have been a Canadian militant. This version has been changed to reflect that he is neither Canadian nor a militant.

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About the Author
National security reporter

Focusing on Canadian matters during the past decade, Colin Freeze has reported extensively on the interplay between government, police, spy services, and the judiciary. Colin has twice been to Afghanistan to be embedded with the Canadian military. More

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