Sabahi (Washington, DC)

9 July 2013

Somalia: Somali Defence Minister Denies Talks With Robow

Somali Defence Minister Abdihakim Haji Mohamud Fiqi denied reports Monday (July 8th) that the government has engaged in talks with senior al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Robow Ali, Somalia's Garowe Online reported.

Fiqi said the government is pleased about recent reports of al-Shabaab infighting and will welcome al-Shabaab defectors, but added that the government is not engaged in official talks with members of the al-Shabaab faction opposed to top commander Ahmed Abdi Godane.

In the past few months Godane has been engaged in a high-profile power struggle with other al-Shabaab leaders including Ibrahim al-Afghani, Hassan Dahir Aweys, Mukhtar Robow Ali and Fuad Mohamed Qalaf.

Following a battle between rival al-Shabaab factions in Barawe in June, Robow reportedly escaped to the Bakol region, al-Afghani was executed by Godane loyalists and Aweys was arrested in Mogadishu.

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