Terror suspect no 'direct threat' to Canadians: RCMP

A man who was arrested on charges that he was to join a Somali group deemed a terrorist organization by the federal government does not pose a direct threat to Canadians, RCMP say.

25-year-old makes court appearance

Mohamed Hersi made a brief appearance in court in Brampton, Ont. (Alex Tavshunsky/CBC)

A man who was arrested on charges that he was to join a Somali group deemed a terrorist organization by the federal government does not pose a "direct threat" to Canadians, RCMP say.

Mohamed Hassan Hersi, 25, was arrested at Pearson International Airport without incident Tuesday evening and made a brief court appearance Wednesday morning in Brampton, Ont.

He was charged with attempting to participate in terrorist activity and with providing counsel to a person to participate in terrorist activity. He will remain in custody until a Friday morning bail hearing.

"There was nothing in the investigation that would suggest a direct threat to Canadians within Canada," said RCMP Insp. Keith Finn at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Toronto.

"However, the issue of radicalization and of people from Canada travelling overseas and receiving that type of further indoctrination and training remains a concern to the RCMP and our partners as far as national security is concerned."

Finn could not discuss the specifics of the charges, saying they were before the courts and they would be revealed later.

It's alleged Hersi was bound for Cairo after a stop in London, England. He was then due to travel to Somalia "to join [the militant group] al-Shabaab and participate in their terrorist activities," RCMP allege.

Hersi was raised by his mother in an apartment in Toronto's east end. He was a medical sciences student at the University of Toronto. 

His arrest comes after a joint investigation by the RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team and the Toronto Police Service's intelligence division.