What you need to know about Al-Shabaab’s defector, Abu Mansur

What you need to know about Al-Shabaab’s defector, Abu Mansur

first_imgNow in his early 50’s – Robow is considered to be among the co-founders of the terrorist group that’s now considered the deadliest on the continent. Image courtesy: CNN Now in his early 50’s – Robow is considered to be among the co-founders of the terrorist group that’s now considered the deadliest on the continent. Image courtesy: CNNFor several years – his fellow colleagues in Al-Shabaab referred to him – as Abu Mansur. His real name is Mukhtar Robow Ali.Now in his early 50’s – Robow is considered to be among the co-founders of the terrorist group that’s now considered the deadliest on the continent.Alongside other top commanders, Robow received military training from Al Qaeda in Afghanistan – and returned to form a terrorist group that’s attacked Somalia and beyond.He also served in previous positions under the group – briefly as a spokesperson and later rose to become its deputy leader – a position he would hold until 2013.And in July – the U.S. State department withdrew a $5 million dollar bounty against him – after it came to light that he had expressed interest in talks with authorities.On Sunday, the government announced that the commander had surrendered – after his loyalists couldn’t stand Al-Shabaab’s back-to-back attacks in his hideout. The group tried to capture him dead or alive after he fell-out with the then group’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2014.Experts and authorities have hailed his surrender as a boost in the fight against the terror group – that has been seeking to topple Somalia’s government for almost a decade“Robow is not the average fighter – he is a trained commander with massive experience in Afghanistan,” Ahmed Weli, an independent analyst, told CGTN Africa.“His surrender to authorities is not just a huge boost but one that the government can use as propaganda – to lure other hardcore terrorists within the group who are trying to abandon Al-Shabaab”.He is the fourth commander to surrender since 2014 – Hassan Dahir Aweys, a former leader of a separate militant group known as Hizbul Islam that was forced to join Al-Shabaab in 2010 after it was overpowered, is also in the hands of the governmentMohamed Said Atam – Al-Shabaab’s former chief in Puntland also surrendered in 2014 – followed by Zakaria Ismail – the group’s intelligence chief- who had a $3 million dollar bounty on his head.The government says that such major defections have yielded tangible results – Somalia and its international partners have increased targeted killings of the groups top command.However – experts say that the group remains a potent threat – since 2016, the group has overran three A.U. military bases killings hundreds of peacekeepers.According to the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Al-Shabaab killed more than 4,200 people in 2016 – and continues with its same tactics that has claimed lives in major African capitals – among them Nairobi, Djibouti and Kampala.Here is CGTN Africa’s Abdulaziz Billow with more:last_img

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