Top Al-Shabaab commander surrenders in Somalia


WISIL, Somalia - A top Al-Shabaab official has surrendered in Somalia, just as the country activates military operations across the country, with the army keen to take over strategic towns which the militants have been using to inflict losses on innocent civilians and security forces.

The government displayed the defector at Wisil tow in Mudug, as security forces retreated from various frontlines following Saturday's massive losses in Oswein where the Al-Shabaab launched an ambush. The government termed withdrawal as "tactical".

The minister of interior, federal affairs, and reconciliation, Ahmed Moallim Fiqi, identified the official as Nur Abdullahi Maalinguur, also known as Nur Deeq, Voice of America reports, in the latest defection which would boost morale among the local army.

According to the minister, Nur Deeq was the Al-Shabaab commander within Mudug, a region where the militants have been making inroads in recent weeks. The Al-Shabaab have made some gains in the region in the past seven months and the defector is believed to have played a key role.

Nur Deeq also used to make threatening phone calls to the business communities, traditional elders, and other community members, Fiqi said. Al-Shabaab has been thriving on extortion, making millions of dollars which sustains the group's activities.

"This surrender means that al-Shabab morale is low, and a thorn has been removed from Mudug," Fiqi posted on his Facebook page.

According to the US State Department, the Al-Shabaab militants make up to $120 million per year, of which $24 million goes to the purchase of weapons. The remaining amount, the State Department added, is used for other logistics such as paying fighters.


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