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Somali troops reinforce Robow forces in Habal as clash with Shabaab intensifies

Storyline:National News, Security
Sheikh Muktar Robow Abuu Mansuur, a senior official of the Al-Shabaab group, walks along the frontline, north of Mogadishu, June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Omar Faruk

Somali forces have deployed in Habal location in Bakool region with heavy weaponry to reinforce forces allied to the former Al-Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow who is being marooned by Al-Shabaab fighters.

South West state presidential spokesman Nuradin Ga’ma has told Goobjoog News the troops have moved to Habal as showdown with Al-Shabaab looms. Federal government forces have also sent reinforcements, the spokesman said.

“The military have moved from Hudur and currently stationed in Habal helping the loyal forces fighting for Sheikh Mukhtar Robow and defending local residents. The weapons are part of the military assistance strategy but we will not make that public,” said Ga’ma.

South West state president Sharif Sheikh Hassan also travelled to Hudur town but the spokesman said his visit was not linked to the military movements.

The reinforcements come as Robow forces have been battling with Al-Shabaab fighters which are keen on eliminating their former boss who in June removed from the $5 million bounty list by the US.

Ga’ma however denied reports the South West state military met with Robow. “No meeting took place between the two sides but there is established communication between them.”

At least 27 people have been reported dead in fierce between Robow’s men and Al-Shabaab in the past week.

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 when he was deputy leader in 2012. The State Department announced in June this year it had withdrawn the award on Robow.