The deputy leader and former spokesman of the Somali militant group Al-Shabaab, Abu Mansoor Mukhtar Robow and was also the first official candidate for the presidential elections in Somalia’s Baidoa, that are set to take place in November.
The militant group is a political Islamist group that is also linked to al-Qaeda, the group is internationally classified as a terrorist group by United States and various other countries.
In 2012, the US administration allocated $5 million to any informant who discloses information that could help lead to Robow’s arrest. However, in July 2017, the State Department issued a decision to cancel the reward after they confirmed that he was secretly negotiating with the Somali government.
According to local Somali news reports, the committee overseeing the presidential elections confirmed that Robow was the first candidate to announce he was running for a presidential campaign in southwestern Somalia.
In august 2017, the Somali army formally declared Robow had left Al-Shabaab and had joined the ranks of the government.
A picture of Robow with the British Ambassador to Somalia David Concar circulated on social media that showed the ambassador with a suspicious look on his face as he talked to the former terrorist.
After many reports, observers state that some Somali rival groups had proof that Doha had played a key role after Qatar’s media helped him attempt to clear his name.
Robow appeared on a television show in 2009 for the Al-Jazeera channel, where he said “We do not want to attack anyone, we want to fix our country. Islam is not forced on anyone.”
Robow had met with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan before the September attacks and only left the country after the US attacked on the Taliban.
When Ahmed Abdi Godane was leader of Al Shabaab, Robow was a deputy to the leader and hence when he was assassinated in 2014 targeted US raid, Robow became in charge.