Somalia: Reformed Al-Shabaab Founder Robow to Be Released From Prison

Judge's gavel.

Former deputy leader of Al Shabaab, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow aka Abu Mansor is set to be freed from prison.

Highly placed sources told Radio Dalsan that an intense lobbying that involved MPs, government officials and emissaries from the IGAD to secure his release , a move seen to quash the heightened tension and protest among his followers.

Mr Robow was arrested last year after he attempted to run for South West regional presidency. He had been accused of arming and funding militants in Baidoa.

He had defected from Al-Shabab, a move that was hailed locally and internationally.

Robow, who according to American officials was born in 1959, was one of the founders of al-Shabab in 2006. Also known as Abu Mansour, he was inspired by al Qaeda and received militant training in Afghanistan where he has said he met with Osama bin Laden days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

He was then instrumental in deploying al Qaeda's violent insurgent strategy to fight the Somali government and international forces.

In 2008, Robow was added to the U.S. list of designated terrorists and a multi-million-dollar bounty was put on his head.

But a rift within al-Shabab, between parts of the group seeking to establish a global caliphate and others like Robow who were more focused on national issues, set him on a new path.

Fearing for his life after a falling out with senior leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in 2013, Robow went into hiding protected by his own loyal militia, until announcing his decision to defect in August 2017.

In a public address at the time, Robow urged other fighters to leave as well.

In October, he announced that he was running for president of Somalia's South West region, but the federal government issued a sharp "no" to his candidacy.

A statement by the internal security ministry said Robow was not eligible to run for the post because he is still under international sanctions.

The move angered his supporters in the region and within the Somali parliament, and comes amid high tension in the Somali capital, where lawmakers are threatening to impeach President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

More From: Dalsan Radio

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