Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has said former Al-Shabaab commander Mukhtar Robow, who is currently the Minister for Religious Affairs will be useful in the government’s fight against the Al-Qaeda-aligned militants.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mohamud said “we can’t give him weapons and ask him to fight, but he can be useful,” referring to the former Al-Shabaab defector, stressing that the man can convince other Al-Shabaab officials to defect.
“We want to show the Al-Shabaab leadership that if they surrender they will not be humiliated, they will not be mistreated,” he added.
The Somali leader told the Guardian that his new minister had established some channels of communication with mid-ranking Al-Shabaab members and was encouraging them to switch sides.
Robow, who invited the Guardian into his residence in Mogadishu, at the request of President Mohamud, insists that he has long had ideological differences with Al-Shabaab. “I disagreed with their culture and their morals,” he says. “I’m a human being, not a monster.”
The media-shy former Al-Shabaab commander, whose tone was, by turns, angry and indignant said Al-Shabaab killed members of his family, including his son, in fighting.