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Somalia elects former Al- Shabab co founder as religious minister

Umamah Bakharia

Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre has named a co-founder and spokesman of the Al-Shabaab, Muktar Robow as minister for religious affairs.

A move that could help strengthen the fight against the insurgents or provoke further clan clashes.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, an East African senior analyst, Omar Mahmood, says Robow has always had an independent streak even though he was one of the founding members of the terrorist organisation, Al-Shabab.

“He was very associated with Al-Shabab especially in its early days but some of their policies and practices he couldn’t agree with and found his own way out of teh organisation,” says Mahmood.



For the past two years, Robow was in prison before he defected the previous administration; he began a campaign to run for political office in a regional state in Somalia.

“It seems like some popularity in that area, especially when you look at the clan dynamics of where he hails from it seems like he had a good chance of winning that election,” says Mahmood.

According to analysts, electing Robow could be a strategy to crack down on Al-Shabab and “take the narrative of what Islam is from Al-Shabab.”


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