New York, Nov.26 : A Somalian terror outfit going by the name of Shabaab al Mujahideen, is reported to have close ties to Al Qaeda.
The Shabaab's ultimate goal is to throw the West "into hell."
The terror organization's main focus, according to the non-profit research group Nine Eleven Finding Answers (NEFA) Foundation, which granted FOX News exclusive access to its detailed reports on the activities of terrorists, is its elaborate network of terror camps that is attracting fundamentalists from around the world.
This trend, NEFA warns, could explode in the near future. The fear is that Shabaab's training will give anyone with the desire to attack Western targets the knowledge to act alone.
"We are now seeing a disturbing pattern of lone-wolf style individuals - such as Maldonado - who have been inspired to join Shabaab in order to do their part in confronting the newest 'crusader battlefront,'" NEFA said.
Maldonado left his wife and three young children behind to pursue a life of jihad, beginning with his training at a Shabaab camp. Early in 2007, he fled the camp when it was invaded by the Ethiopian military. He was later arrested by Kenyan authorities and transferred to U.S. custody. After a lengthy interrogation by the FBI and a subsequent trial in Houston, he was convicted of receiving training from a terrorist organization. He was sentenced in July 2007, to 10 years in federal prison.
As the armed wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), Shabaab was initially packaged and promoted to the people of Somalia as a "law and order" organization. Indeed, the collapse of the Somali government in the 1990s - when clan warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre -- resulted in years of violence and instability.
But what began with a promise to bring order to a broken, war-torn African nation rapidly developed into a new - and increasingly deadly - frontier in the war on terror.
According to Dr. J. Peter Pham, professor of justice studies and political science at James Madison University in Virginia, Somalia's conflict with Ethiopia destroyed much of Shabaab's original leadership. What has replaced it is a group of cavalier fundamentalists with a desire to create a "Taliban-like" government in the country, similar to what existed in Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks.
Now analysts are concerned that Shabaab will develop a more significant relationship with the pirates, one that could result in an organization with the power to terrorize a struggling global economy.