Somalia: Former Al-Shabaab Deputy Leader Surrenders to the Somali Government

Claudine Rigal
Août 13, 2017

A former Somali insurgent leader, Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, has defected to the government, a military official said on Sunday, severing ties with the militant group Al Shabaab.

Robow, a co-founder of the Somali terrorist group, turned himself over to authorities in the town of Hudur, 400 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, said Hassan Hussein Mohamed, minister of internal security for south west state.

A major Al Shabaab attack on his base at Abal last Wednesday caused the death of at least 20 combatants from both sides.

"Robow and his seven bodyguards are now in Hudur with local officials".

He is among the founders of Al Shabaab, after the collapse of the Union of the Islamic Courts, a coalition of Islamists that controlled most of the southern and central regions of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, in 2006.

He left the militant group in 2013 and retreated to his homeland over a disagreement on using foreign fighters in the group.

The United States removed a $5 million bounty for Robow last June.

Estimated to be in his 50s, Robow is one of al-Shabab's most experienced leaders, having travelled to Afghanistan and trained alongside al-Qaeda around 2000 after studies in Sudan. The government should eliminate Robow and the militants who fight him.

Robow had served as an al-Shabab spokesman, military commander and spiritual leader who planned and executed deadly attacks on Somali government troops and African Union peacekeeping forces, according to the U.S. government. Aweys also defected to the government because of the purge within al-Shabab. Al-Shabab still controls parts of rural Somalia.

The fighters pledged to step up attacks after the recently elected government of President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed launched a new military offensive against it.

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