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US lauds defection of former Al-Shabaab leader Robow

Storyline:National News
Ex Al-Shabaab deputy addressing the media in Mogadishu August 15, 2017. Photo: Sonna

The US has hailed the defection of former Al-Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow while commending the Somali government for facilitating his defection a day after the renegade militant addressed the media in Mogadishu.

In a statement Monday, the US Mission in Somalia said it supported the efforts aimed at further defections and degrading of the group.

“The United States supports a Somali-led process of degrading al-Shabaab’s influence using a comprehensive approach, including through high-level defections, reconciliation, and improved governance and service delivery,” the statement read in part.

The statement follows Somali government’s statement Tuesday thanking those who participated in facilitating Robow’s defection. “The Federal government hugely thanks anyone who played a role in facilitating the current discussion with Robow, in particular all segments of the society and our international friends and partners.”

The US lifted a $5 million bounty on Robow in June in what could be seen as enabling enhanced negotiations with the Federal Government for defection.

Meanwhile a Human Rights Watch official has called for the investigation of Robow’s role in murder of civilians noting that it was against international law to grant him amnesty.

“Somalia’s government needs to investigate Robow’s role and ensure that those responsible for the worst abuses aren’t able to escape just punishment.” Senior Human Rights Watch researcher Laetitia Bader said in a tweet.