A high-ranking Islamist militia commander belonging to the radical Alshabab movement has defected to the Somali government on Wednesday. The officer who identified himself as Sheik Ali Hassan Gheddi was the deputy commander in-chief of Al-shabaab fighters in the Middle Shabele region north east of the capital Mogadishu. “I came to decision to leave Al-shabaab after I came to realise that they are totally wrong and not working for the interest of the Somali people or in accordance with Islamic sharia law”, the defected militia commander stated during a press conference at the compound of the Somali ministry of information on Wednesday.
“I am a very well known commander and they cannot say that I was not a member of the organisation as they used to do whenever officials or fighters defect to government from them” he said. Meanwhile a spokesman for the Somali information ministry, Sheik Abdirisaq Qeylow, said he is calling on all Al-shabaab fighters and officers to join the government saying that they will all be welcomed.
“The fighters are our young brothers but they were misguided and we are telling them that the government’s hands are open to them” Somali information ministry spokesman added during the joint press conference with the defected Islamist commander. This is the second high level Islamist leader to join the government in less than a month. Last month another high-ranking commander Sheik Mohamed farooq Asad Al Pakistani defected to the government, but Al-shabaab leaders denied that he was among the Mujahideens.
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