Somalia Appoints al-Qaeda Offshoot's Ex-Deputy Chief as Religion Minister

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Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre appointed Mukhtar Robow — a erstwhile lawman main of al-Shabaab, which is simply a Somali subdivision of the planetary jihadist panic enactment al-Qaeda — arsenic Somalia’s caller religion curate connected Tuesday, Reuters reported.

“After overmuch deliberation with the president and the public, I person named furniture ministers who person acquisition and acquisition and they volition fulfill their duties,” Prime Minister Barre said connected August 2 earlier naming respective furniture appointees, including Robow. “I inquire the parliament to o.k. the cabinet.”

The Somali parliament approved Barre arsenic premier curate of Somalia connected June 25 aft helium was nominated for the station by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Robow, besides known arsenic Abu Mansour, was contiguous successful Somalia’s statesmanlike palace connected August 2 arsenic Barre announced his caller furniture appointees earlier the press. Somali information authorities had released Robow conscionable 24 hours earlier from detention astatine the office of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Voice of America (VOA) reported connected Tuesday.

Somali authorities authorities had subjected Robow to either detention oregon location apprehension for the past fewer years. A associated portion of Somali and African Union security forces arrested Robow successful Baidoa successful December 2018 arsenic helium campaigned for a determination presidency successful Somalia’s South West State. Somalia’s erstwhile authorities ordered Robow’s detention successful precocious 2018 to support him from assuming powerfulness successful the region, wherever helium enjoys important nationalist enactment arsenic a autochthonal resident.

Robow’s December 2018 apprehension provoked radical successful Baidoa to violently protestation against the measure. Somali information forces responded to the rioting with a dense hand. At slightest 15 radical died during the clashes, “including soldiers and civilians,” the BBC reported astatine the time.

Former Deputy Leader and spokesperson  of Somalia's Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, besides  known arsenic  Abu Mansur, speaks to journalists connected  August 15, 2017 successful  Mogadishu. Abu Mansur near  Al-Shabaab successful  2013 aft  falling retired  with its person  Ahmed Abdi Godane, who was killed a twelvemonth  later, successful  September 2014, by a US drone strike. Robow, a co-founder of the Somali violent  group, turned himself implicit    to authorities successful  the municipality  of Hudur, 400 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB (Photo recognition  should work   MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Deputy Leader and spokesperson of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab rebels, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, besides known arsenic Abu Mansur, speaks to journalists connected August 15, 2017, successful Mogadishu. (MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images)

VOA recalled Robow’s dual past of serving some Somalia’s authorities and al-Shabaab connected August 2, writing:

Robow roseate to prominence arsenic lawman defence main of Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union successful 2006, erstwhile the radical temporarily seized power of astir of southcentral Somalia, defeating a conjugation of U.S.-backed warlords.

Robow went connected to service arsenic al-Shabab’s authoritative spokesperson and aboriginal arsenic the group’s lawman leader. In 2008, the U.S. designated al-Shabab a violent organization. In 2012, the U.S. offered a $5 cardinal reward for accusation starring to Robow’s capture, though that connection was withdrawn successful June 2017.

“Before the instauration of al-Shabab, Robow trained with al-Qaida successful Afghanistan,” according to VOA.

Al-Shabaab formed successful Somalia astir 2006 arsenic a nonstop offshoot of al-Qaeda, which is an planetary jihadist panic enactment that was established astir 1988. Al-Qaeda made headlines connected August 1 erstwhile Washington announced that the group’s latest leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a U.S. subject airstrike successful Kabul, Afghanistan, connected July 30.

VOA, a U.S. government-funded broadcaster, further revealed connected Tuesday that an interrogation it conducted with Robow successful October 2021 led to his latest detention by Somalia’s NISA, which ended connected August 2.

“In August 2019 helium was moved from situation to location arrest,” VOA noted, referring to Robow’s detention stemming from his December 2018 apprehension successful Baidoa.

“He was returned to NISA office aft giving an interrogation to VOA Somali successful October of past year,” the broadcaster reported.

During the October 2021 interrogation successful question, Robow alleged to VOA that helium had been “abducted” by Somalian authorities forces, who, helium claimed, were detaining him for governmental purposes due to the fact that they did not privation him to tally for immoderate authorities posts. Robow publically denounced al-Shabaab successful 2013 earlier archetypal attempting to tally for nationalist bureau successful Somalia successful 2017.

Somalia’s newly-elected president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, assumed office successful May. He campaigned connected promises to ace down connected al-Shabaab’s Islamic insurgency wrong Somalia. Al-Shabaab has reportedly grown stronger implicit the past 3 years, during which Mohamud’s predecessor, erstwhile Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was “consumed by governmental infighting, [and] took small enactment against al Shabaab,” Reuters recalled connected Tuesday.

“That allowed the insurgents to physique up important reserves of currency and transportation retired attacks implicit a wide swathe of Somalia. Last week scores of al Shabaab fighters and Ethiopian information forces were killed successful clashes on the 2 nations’ shared border,” the quality bureau noted connected August 2.

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