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Somalia blocks ex-Shabaab leader from vying for state presidency

Storyline:National News, Security
FILE: Somali government said Wednesday Mukhtar Robow (pictured) was still under international sanctions.

Somali government has put the brakes on former Al-Shabaab’s number two Mukhtar Robow’s ambitions of contesting in upcoming state elections the same day he announced his candidature.

Internal Security Ministry issued a statement Thursday rubbishing Robow’s candidature on grounds the former Al-Shabaab leader was still under international sanctions which barred him from running for presidency in South West state.

Robow, also known as Abu Maansuur announced yesterday in Baidoa the capital of South West that he would be running for presidency in the upcoming elections slated for November 7.

“The decision taken by the Ministry is based on agreement with the international community which sets conditions for lifting sanctions on Robow,” the Ministry said. The government cited economic sanctions and sanctions by the international police, Interpol as two main conditions put forth by the international community in line with the war against terrorism.

“Mukhtar Robow has not fulfilled all conditions necessary to lift the ban by the international community. There are still remaining milestones set by the international community and that will bar him from running for president of South West,” the statement read in part.

Robow handed himself in to the government last November after what insiders said was months of negotiations following the US’s move to drop the $5 million bounty on his head. Robow who has been in government custody in Mogadishu but freely travels to the regions fell out with Al-Shabaab in 2013 and had until his surrender been fending off Al-Shabaab attacks in South West regions of Bakol.

The move to bar Robow leaves incumbent Sharif Hassan Adan and former finance minister Aden Fargeti as the major candidates in the upcoming polls.