Former al-Shabaab spokesman now running for political office


Former al-Shabaab spokesman now running for political office
Mukhtar Robow, then a leader of the Somali militant group al-Shabab, is seen at a news conference at a farm in southern Mogadishu's Afgoye district in Somalia, May 11, 2011. PHOTO | VOA

In Summary

  • Robow is now gunning to be president of South West State — one of six federal regions set up to help establish a functioning government – in the oncoming December 5, 2018, elections
  • According to an article published on international media outlet – NBC News – Robow was born in 1959 and was allegedly one of the founders of al-Shabaab in 2006.
  • The article further states that Robow was added to the U.S. list of designated terrorists in 2008.

Mukhtar Robow, a former spokesman and deputy leader of terrorist group al-Shabaab, is now running for political office in Somalia.

Robow, under the slogan ‘Security and Justice,’ is now gunning to be president of South West State — one of six federal regions set up to help establish a functioning government – in the oncoming December 5, 2018, elections.

According to an article published on international media outlet – NBC News – Robow was born in 1959 and was allegedly one of the founders of al-Shabaab 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 September 11, 2001 attacks,” reads a section of the article.

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

The article further states that Robow was added to the U.S. list of designated terrorists in 2008 “and a multi-million-dollar bounty was put on his head.”

“But a rift within al-Shabaab, 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,” reads another section.

Robow reportedly went into hiding in 2013 after a bitter tiff with then al-Shabaab senior leader Ahmed Abdi Godane before finally making public his defection in August 2017 and asking other fighters to follow him.

Speaking to Reuters on his defection that year, he said: “I left al-Shabaab because of misunderstanding, and I disagreed with their creed which does not serve Islamic religion, people and the country.”

However, just before his defection, the United States took his name off the list of sponsors of terrorism and removed the Ksh.500 million reward for his capture. He is still, however, plagued by U.S sanctions which prevent American citizens from associating with him.

“While local authorities cleared his candidacy, the central government has announced Robow cannot run because he remains under international sanction,” adds the article by NBC News.

“A new report from the United Nations Monitoring Group says about 20 other senior members of al-Shabab have defected ‘at Robow’s instigation.’”

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Story By Ian Omondi
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