Garowe Online (Garowe)

4 February 2013

Somalia: President Ready to Open Talks With Al Shabaab 'If They Abandon Objective'

Mogadishu — Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stated that his government is ready to talk to Al Shabaab if the terror group "renege their objective", Garowe Online reports.

President Hassan who has been on foreign visits across Europe and currently visiting London, gave an interview to BBC Somali discussing Al Shabaab and the hearing of the alleged rape case of a woman by Somali forces.

Speaking about Al Shabaab, President Hassan told BBC that his government would be willing to speak with the terrorist organization if they withdraw from their goal to topple the Federal Government.

"It is important to keep winning the fight against Al Shabaab militarily as we are doing now, however if they renege on their objective then we can open up talks," said President Hassan.

Al Shabaab has repeatedly stated that they would not have talks with the Somali Federal Government.

Officials in the central region of Hiraan publicly displayed 5 Al Shabaab fighters who renounced their allegiance with the terror organization on Monday.

Beledweyne Police Chief Col. Isaaq Ali Abdulle who spoke to press said that the 5 men were seasoned Al Shabaab fighters who had got caught up with the terrorist organization for different reasons and decided to leave the terror syndicate behind.

The move by the 5 men comes just two days after Somali government forces alongside AMISOM fiercely battled Al Shabaab in Beledweyne.

President Hassan has extended clemency to Al Shabaab fighters who renounce the terror organization.

Al Shabaab has suffered a huge loss of authority in southern Somalia and has been forced out of almost every major city they controlled in southern Somalia.

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