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Former Somali insurgent leader defects to government

Former Somali insurgent leader defects to government
From CBC - August 13, 2017

A former Somali insurgentleader, Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, has defected to thegovernment, a military official said on Sunday, severing tieswith Islamist group al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab fell out with its former spokesman and deputyleader Robow in 2013 and he has been laying low in the jungleswith his forces since then. The Islamists have launched multipleattacks to try kill or capture him.

An army official said in June there were negotiationsbetween the government and Robow but there were no guaranteesthat he would defect. He said it had sent soldiers to try to
defend him.

"Robow and his seven bodyguards are now in Hudur with localofficials. He will be flown to Mogadishu soon," Colonel NurMohamed, a Somali military officer, told Reuters by phone fromthe southwestern town of Hudur.

His defection comes two months after the United Statesremoved a $5 million reward for his capture and took him off itslist of sponsors of terrorism after five years. It was notimmediately clear if the timing of the defection was linked.

Nonetheless, it could give pro-government forces morefreedom to operate in the regions of Bay and Bakool, slicing al-Shabaab's operational territory in two.

Government arecycling' insurgency

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