*Editors note: Since this story was first posted on September 22, 2013, CNN has backed off its original report that several Americans were involved in the attack at the Westgate Mall in Kenya. They also named two Minnesotans with common Somali and Muslim names in that original report, but to date no one has been able to confirm the names or connect them to families in the Twin Cities area.
MINNEAPOLIS - For the last five years, Abdirizak Bihi, a Minneapolis community activist, has tried to fight al-Shabab recruitment of young Somalis.
When word spread of a shooting at a mall in Kenya, he hoped that no Minnesotans were involved.
According to CNN, several Somali-Americans, including two possibly from the Twin Cities, were among the gunmen.
CNN says Ahmed Isse, 22, of St. Paul and Abdifatah Keenadiid, 24, were named by Al-Shabab on a Twitter account that has been shut down.
Bihi could not confirm the two were involved and said they are not listed in a database he keeps of missing Somali youth believed to be recruited by al-Shabab.
"That doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We know more than we have confirmed exist," he said.
Propaganda videos and recruiters often target youth lost between cultures, according to Bihi. His nephew, Burhan Hassan, was one of the kids lost to al-Shabab.
In 2008 Hassan, a 17-year-old Roosevelt High School student at the time, left the Twin Cities to join al-Shabab in Somalia and died.
"We feel like we're losing the competition," Bihi said.
Efforts to encourage young men to stay active in the community have been made, but Bihi fears they will lose the battle due to a lack of resources.
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