A former al-Shabab commander who is under house arrest in Somalia said he was being held to prevent him from running in elections.
Mukhtar Robow Ali, nicknamed Abu Mansour, is a deputy leader of al-Shabab and is wanted in the US. He had been a fugitive for five million dollars for anyone who could find him.
He disobeyed the terrorist group after clashing with them in August 2017. The Somali government initially praised his defiance, but later arrested him so he could not run for president in the Southwest region in 2018.
Speaking from Mogadishu, where he has been under house arrest since 2018, Abu Mansour told FLY that his detention was politically motivated.
“I was detained from running,” he said. “I was detained for hijacking the Southwest election,” he added.
FLY contacted the office of the president and leader of the Southwest state, but has not received a response. The government defended its decision to stop Abu Mansour’s political aspirations.
The interior security ministry said Abu Mansour did not meet the requirements to run. The Somali government says Abu Mansour is still under sanctions imposed by members of the international community for being a member of al-Shabab. [vm/jm]