Viernes, 20 Octubre, 2017

Al-Shabab's Mukhtar Robow defects to government side

In June the US cancelled a $5m reward offered for Robow's capture In June the US cancelled a $5m reward offered for Robow's capture
Irune Rengel | 13 Agosto, 2017, 23:23

Reports said Abu Mansur, along with loyalist fighters reached Hudur, and subsequently surrendered to Southwest state officials, including the state's President Sharif Sheikh Aden. "Robow is now in Hudur town with southwest State officials".

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.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to try to topple Somalia's central government and rule the Horn of Africa country according to their own interpretation of Sharia law. Among those killed was the rapping American Jihadist, Omar Hammami and Ibrahim Afghani, one of the group's founders and others.

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His defection comes two months after the United States removed a $5 million reward for his capture and took him off its list of sponsors of terrorism after five years.

An army official said in June there were negotiations between the government and Robow but there were no guarantees that he would defect.

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 USA government.

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Already under house arrest in Mogadishu is the former spiritual al-Shabab leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.

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

Al-Shabab also faces a new military push from the USA after President Donald Trump approved expanded operations, including air strikes.

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The extremist group has vowed 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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