Top commanders ditch Al-Shabab ranks, surrender in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Two senior al-Shabab commanders have made a surprise move; surrendering themselves to troops in Gedo region along the Kenya-Somalia border on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports.
The ministry of Information for the Federal Government of Somalia has said Mustafa Ibrahim Isak and Mohamed Hassan Madhaley handed themselves over to officials in the Bardhere town with their guns.
The defectors were in charge of the group’s intelligence and prison guards, respectively and their shocker submission comes amid intensified military crackdown is ongoing in parts of the Horn of Africa nation.
The Somali government says the latest defection is seen as a good sign with the authorities hoping other militants remained in the extremist group will follow suit to restore security and stability in Somalia.
Speaking at a press conference in Mogadishu on Tuesday, Gen. Dahir Adan Elmi (Indha Qarshe), the chief of the Somali Army claimed that the number of the militants deserting Al-Shabab is on the rise.
He said the two men have been in contact with Somali officials who convinced them to defect, adding that the high profile defection is a “setback” to Al-Shabab, the Al-Qaeda’s most powerful ally in Africa.
Al-Shabab leadership has not commented on the defection.
In the past few weeks, the country has seen several military operations in southern regions, particularly lower Shabelle region which remains one of the strongholds of the group.
Somali forces on Sunday night (9th June) retook three villages near Bardhere town in the country’s southern region of Gedo and killed three Al-Shabab militants, officials said.
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, along with Somali national army [SNA], have stepped up operations against the group in central and southern Somalia to flush the militants out of the areas they control in the two regions.