Jailed ex-Al-Shabaab deputy leader: 'My life is not safe'

Robow who is under house arrest by the government, expressed concern about his safety [File photo]

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Former Al-Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow now says his life is in danger, three years after he was put under house arrest by authorities in Somalia, despite having defected from the Al-Qaeda linked group.

Robow was first arrested in December 2018 while campaigning for Southwest presidency, a move which did not go well with outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, who had Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen as his preferred candidate.

In his first interview conducted with Voice of America Somali Service, Robow accused unnamed individuals in the Somali government of unlawfully detaining him, adding that he's no longer safe in detention.

Robow said his NISA officers guarding the house he is being held fired against each other sometimes back, leading to one death. This, he noted, is the main reason why he believes that his life is in danger, exposing him badly over the same.

The ex-al-Shabaab spokesman further accused the federal government of Somalia of being "extremely unfair to me" adding that "there is no reason to continue detaining me without giving me a clear reason as to why I am undergoing torture".

He urged Somalis of goodwill to come out in numbers and fight for his freedom which seems not to become. The former leader said his principles of working for the people will not be deterred despite his current predicaments.

For three years, Robow's sympathizers have been calling for his release, accusing Farmaajo of violating his "constitutional rights". The protests have never yielded any fruits despite the pressure from members of the public.

The former deputy Al-Shabaab leader also said he will be running for the Southwest presidency once released. The seat is held by Abdiaziz Lafta-Gareen, a close ally of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

He was arrested by Somali security forces with help of Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] in 2018 at Baidoa, the interim regional administrative capital of Southwest, and transferred to Mogadishu. The incident triggered protests leading to the death of 11 people.

It's not clear when the federal government will release him from detention but he's sure that "I will get freedom". He also signaled to take arms if he's blocked again from running for public office, in what would further affect his already determinating relationship with Mogadishu.


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