Somalia | St. Louis Public Radio


Saadiq Mohhamed and Sa'ad Hussein are two Somali soccer stars that have started a new life in St. Louis after leaving their war-torn home. They are pictured here working with children at a St. Louis soccer park.
J.R. Biersmith

There was a point late into the filming of “Men in the Arena” that director and St. Louis native J.R. Biersmith realized his relationship with the documentary’s subjects was fundamentally altered. A journalist by trade, this was a different challenge than he was used to — but then again, everything in Somalia, where Biersmith had traveled to shoot the documentary about the national soccer team, was a challenge unlike anything he was used to.

A refugee from Somalia who worked as an airport cab driver in St. Louis has been sentenced to more than 13 years in prison for providing money to a terrorist organization in Somalia.

The sentence for 31-year-old Mohamud Abdi Yusuf was handed down today in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. He pleaded guilty in November, admitting that he raised nearly $6,000 for al-Shabab, which was trying to overthrow the provisional government in Somalia.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 15, 2011 - WASHINGTON - The famine in Somalia caused by the region's worst drought in decades has been exacerbated by the actions and threats of the armed Islamist group, al-Shabaab, that controls much of the stricken area, officials say.

"I believe al-Shabaab is directly responsible for the starvation" in its part of Somalia, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told the Beacon. He called for strengthening U.S. relief aid to the refugee camps and other steps to encourage desertions from al-Shabaab's militias.