NAIROBI, Kenya – The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia says it had no half within the arrest of the previous No. 2 chief of the al-Shabab extremist group, who has been a number one candidate for a regional presidency.
The assertion launched in a single day referred to as for “utmost restraint” after a number of deaths had been reported within the gunfire-fueled uproar round Muhktar Robow’s arrest on Thursday in Baidoa.
His arrest is seen as a high-profile take a look at of Somalia’s therapy of defectors from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, Africa’s most energetic extremist group. Somalia’s authorities welcomed the defection final 12 months by al-Shabab’s former spokesman however not his fashionable candidacy to guide Southwest state, which took some officers abruptly.
Robow was seized by Ethiopian troops accompanied by Somali police, witnesses advised The Related Press. He was flown to the capital, Mogadishu, a Somali intelligence official mentioned. All spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to talk to reporters or for security issues.
Ethiopia’s army, which contributes troops to the AU mission, has not commented. Robow’s arrest might re-ignite outdated tensions between Somalia and neighboring Ethiopia regardless of latest diplomatic breakthroughs within the Horn of Africa sparked by Ethiopia’s reformist new prime minister.
Somalia’s safety ministry confirmed Robow’s arrest, citing the federal authorities’s earlier ban on his candidacy, which mentioned he had not accomplished the defection course of. The ministry additionally alleged that Robow had did not surrender extremist ideology, and accused him of mobilizing armed forces to threaten the safety of Baidoa.
Somali officers have introduced that the election for the Southwest presidency will go forward on Wednesday, even after Robow was arrested. His native supporters in Baidoa have loudly protested.
A brand new joint assertion by the USA, greater than a dozen international locations, the AU mission and the United Nations expresses concern, deploring the violence, urging dialogue and urging all events to “to respect the integrity of the electoral course of.”
Robow’s controversial marketing campaign has additional uncovered the rift between Somalia’s federal authorities based mostly in Mogadishu and regional governments, who in latest months have successfully severed cooperation with the capital over a number of grievances.
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