1st Ld-Writethru: Former Al-Shabaab deputy leader finally surrenders to Somali gov't

BY Xinhua News AgencyAug 13,2017 at 09:39

MOGADISHU, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Former Al-Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow defected to the Somalia security forces following a bitter fight with militants in Abal location.
Officials said Robow who is from the large Rahanweyn clan, which dominates many of Somalia's most fertile areas, arrived in government controlled town of Hudur town in Somalia' southwest State forces on Sunday.
Minister of Internal Security for Southwest State, Hassan Hussein Mohamed confirmed to Xinhua that the group's former leader, Robow is with them at moment.
"Al-Shabaab militants wanted to kill Robow but we gave him military help and repulsed the Al-Shabaab fighters. Robow is now in Hudur town with southwest State officials," Mohamed said.
Robow's surrender comes after weeks of deadly fighting between Al-Shabaab militants and his militia backed by Somalia security forces.
He left the militant group in 2013 and retreated to his homeland over disagreement on using foreign fighters in the group.
Robow was before his disagreement with the group declared wanted terrorist by the United States in June 2012 with a five million U.S. dollars bounty placed on his head.
He defected from Al-Shabaab in 2013 when he was deputy leader in 2012. The U.S. State Department announced in June quietly removed him from their list of sponsors of terror after five years.
Robow who is also known as Abu Mansour is intelligent and was a main pillar of the Somali militant Islamist group.
Analysts say his defection will deny Al-Shabaab vital manpower and intelligence. It is a big blow that Al-Shabaab will certainly lose all South of Somalia due to Robow's influence there besides the tight noose by Kenya Defense Forces.
Robow's defection will likely enable pro-government forces to operate in the regions of Bay and Bakool, reducing the insurgents' operational territory in two. Enditem

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