Somalia appoints ex-Shabab spokesman as minister

Prime Minister Hamzah Abdi Berri said in televised statements that Robow, who had a $5 million bounty on top before separating from al-Shabab in 2013, will serve as the minister responsible for debt.

The US State Department said at the time that Robow publicly denounced his membership of the Islamic sect in 2017 and pledged his support for Somali authorities.

He had earlier left the terrorist group after a falling out with its leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in 2013. Godane was killed in a US drone strike the following year.

Analysts told CNN that Robow was one of the highest-ranking Al-Shabaab members to leave the sect. Stig Garley Hansen, author of Al Shabab in Somalia: The History and Ideology of an Islamist Militant Group, said he was unable to persuade many fighters to surrender with him to the Somali government.

“Robo is one of the core members of the youth movement, and one of the key elements [members] Afghan war veterans who have returned to Somalia.”

Al-Shabab fought to overthrow the Somali government and establish a base based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Earlier in May, the sect overran a large military base housing African Union forces in Mogadishu, killing a number of peacekeepers.

Al-Shabab has long been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States.

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