Mukhtar Robow the renegade former Al-Shabaab deputy leader has declared his disaffiliation with Al-Shabaab joining the ranks of former militants Zakariya Ahmed Ismail Hersi, Hassan Aweys and Mohamed Sheikh Atom in distancing themselves from a group they once shed blood for.
In a brief media address in a Mogadishu hotel Tuesday, Robow escorted in by security personnel and Banaadir administration and internal security spokespersons Abdifitah Halane and Sayid Ahmed Arab respectively said he left Al-Shabaab five years ago following ideological differences.
“I left Al-Shabaab five years and seven months ago because we had differences based on understanding and belief on issues that are not in service of Islam, the people and the country,” said Robow reading from a prepared statement.
The former Al-Shabaab leader who was flown in to Mogadishu Sunday following a month long deadly battle with Al-Shabaab in Bakool region said he was grateful to the ‘government and my international friends in their role for matters to reach such level.’
“I make clear that there are ongoing talks with federal government of Somalia that are hosting me in Mogadishu; talks that are expected to result into understanding and good effect,” added Robow who also goes by the alias Abu Mansuur.
Robow’s official defection from Al-Shabaab is seen as a major boost for the government in neutering the militant group Al-Shabaab even as Somalia prepares for a draw-down of the African Union force Amisom as from next year.
Robow was declared wanted terrorist by the US in June 2012 with a $5 million bounty placed on his head. However he defected from Al-Shabaab in 2013. The State Department announced in June this year it had withdrawn the award on Robow.