After formally defecting to the government, former Al-Shabaab deputy commander Mukhtar Robow Ali has said he wants to pave the way for peaceful Somalia through talks with the government.
“I am hopeful that the ongoing talks with the government will lead to understanding. I am now a gust for the Somali government.” He said in his first press conference since he surrendered to the government forces last week. “I am also hopeful that we shall pave the way for peaceful in the Somali territory.”
Robow, 47, (popularly known as Abu Mansur) surrendered to the government forces following attacks by Al-Shabaab fighters in Bakol region where he was taking shelter for the past five years.
In June this year, the United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed Robow’s name from the Reward for Justice (RFJ) list following discussions was made with the Somali government.
“I hereby announce that I am no longer member of Al-Shabaab, whose violent ideology is completely different from mine.” he told reporters at a hotel in Mogadishu under very tight security.
“I call those who are still Al-Shabaab members to leave and surrender to the government.”
The outspoken who once served as Al-Shabaab spokesman was dressed in dark green Khamis and turban over his shoulders and black eyeglasses with Somali flag, which he used to call “apostate” on his side.
Shortly before Robow’s arrival, heavily armed National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) soldiers took over the stage where he spoke to the reporters.
“I thank Somali Government and its international partners. I want to say thank you all who made the process to reach here.” he added.
Robow said he has been in the push for five and half years facing constant attacks from Al-Shabaab.
“Since when I left Al-Shabaab, I was living in the push and they [Al-Shabaab] attacked to kill me. I have defended myself and defeated them.” he said.
The news conference ended without any questions by the reporters.
There were no government official spoke as part news conference.
– SOMALI UPDATE ONLINE –