Al-Shabab's Mukhtar Robow defects to government side

Al-Shabab's Mukhtar Robow defects to government side

Al-Shabab's Mukhtar Robow defects to government side

A top leader of Somalia's Al-Qaida-affiliated Al-Shabaab group has surrendered to government forces in Hudur, the regional capital of Bakol province on Sunday, Garowe Online reports. "Hundreds of clan militias dug in trenches in the hills of Abal village and its surroundings to defend any attack from Al-Shabaab" Omar Abdi, a resident in the town of Hudur said.

Before his disagreement with the group, Robow was declared wanted terrorist by the USA in June 2012 with a $5 million bounty placed on his head. The government should eliminate Robow and the militants who fight him.

Earlier this week, Robow lost at least 19 of his fighters to al-Shabab, our correspondent said.

His surrender is culmination of months of talks between the Somali government, and it is believed the cancellation of the bounty for his capture helped convince Robow to give himself up to the Somalia government.

Robow had fallen out with the al-Shabab leadership, which has been carrying out a purge of its ranks. He 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. Rewards for Justice program.

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Robow and al-Shabab parted ways in 2013, and since then he had been laying low in the jungles with his forces. But residents and an analyst were doubtful over the impact of the move.

Mohamed Aden, a history lecturer at a Mogadishu university, said: "If criminals are not taken to court, then there will be no peace".

Heavily armed fighters from Al-Shabaab launched an attack on the main hideout of Abu-mansur in Bakol region, southwest Somalia in recent days, but encountered a strong resistance from his loyalists in the area. Aweys also defected to the government because of the purge within al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab, nevertheless, remains a formidable threat and frequently carries out bombings both in Mogadishu and other towns against both military and civilian targets.

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