Armed group halts traffic on I95, claim to be ‘aboriginal people’ of America

Massachusetts police arrested 11 heavily armed people claiming to be the ‘aboriginal people’ of America after they halted traffic on Interstate 95 for almost seven hours on Saturday.

“Their self-professed leader wanted it very much known their ideology is not anti-government,” State Police Col. Christopher Mason said. “Our investigation will provide us more insight into what their motivation, what their ideology is.” 

Police say the standoff began around 4:00 am Sunday as the group of armed men fled into nearby woods off of I95 outside of Boston. “The group claimed that it was traveling from Rhode Island to Maine to conduct what it refers to as ‘training,’ None of the men, who were dressed in military fatigues and body armor and were armed with long guns and pistols, has a license to carry firearms,” said David Procopio, a spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police.

One member of the group streamed parts of the standoff live on their Youtube channel, where he claims he assured police that they are not “anti-government” or “anti-police” and claimed to have the right to bear a firearm without a license, citing various laws and Supreme Court rulings.

“State Police say so far they have recovered 8 firearms: 3 AR-15 rifles, 2 pistols, a bolt-action rifle, a shotgun, and a short barrel rifle,” tweeted Kristen Glavin a reporter with Boston 25.

The standoff caused a shelter in place order for residents of the surrounding areas which was lifted shortly after the 11 men were in police custody. Police say some of the men refused to give their identities and claimed that they did not “recognize our laws.”

“BREAKING: @MassStatePolice confirm the armed men posted multiple YouTube videos from “Rise of the Moors” account this morning. This is a portion of one of them. Man in video says, “I reassured them [police] that we are trying to come to a peaceful resolution,” tweeted Julianne Lima, a reporter with Boston 25.

Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey is identified as the Moorish American Consular Post Head for the group. Abdullah Bey’s biography shows him having served in the Marines. The term Moors refers to Muslim inhabitants of North Africa and southern Europe. The group’s website claims that all Moorish people descend from “the Olmecs, Moabites, Canaanites, Hittites,” among others. Their website calls for reparations from the US government and claims that Moorish-Americans do not owe or pay any taxes to the U.S. government.

The group asserts that Moors are the “aboriginal people” of America and they assert their “nationality” as Moorish-Americans, “to which the sovereign power is vested in.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Moorish sovereign citizen movement as a “collection of independent organizations and lone individuals that emerged in the early 1990s as an offshoot of the anti-government sovereign citizens movement, which believes that individual citizens hold sovereignty over, and are independent of, federal and state government.”