A leading Al-Shabaab prosecutor has ditched the Al-Qaida linked group after years of service, becoming the latest major defector even as allied forces continue cracking the whip on the militants in Somalia.
Mohamed Hassan Mo’alim alias Abu Ali, surrendered to the Somali National Armed Forces in Qoryoley town Friday night, officials said, adding that he was one of the most sought militants within the town.
State media said Mohamed Hassan has served several ranks within the militant group and was the leading prosecutor at the time he surrendered. Al-Shabaab has parallel courts where it prosecutes those it captures during the fight.
“Mohamed Hassan, known Abu Ali, the head of the terror- group’s so-called court in Kuntuwarey has surrendered to Somali National Army in Qoryoley district of Lower Shabelle region,” state media reported.
“Mohamed who has been a member of Al-Shabaab for several years has denounced the group’s ideology,” state media noted, adding that he will be repatriated to the community after undergoing several courses.
Qoryoley District Commissioner Sayid-Ali Ibrahim added that the surrender was facilitated by the Somali National Army troops in the area. He surrendered without being forced, the officer noted, adding that the move was a major gain to the government.
Mohamed Hassan Maalim alias Abu-Ali is said to have been in charge of prosecuting innocent civilians in Kuntuwarey and its environs. Al-Shabaab courts are notorious for prosecuting people within giving them a chance to have a legal presentation.
The group has for a long time tried to topple the fragile UN-backed Somalia administration but a concerted effort by Somali National Army and the AMISOM troops has made it possible to degrade the group within the country.
His surrender comes at the time the US is looking for Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Omar Diriye and his deputy Mahad Karate, whose whereabouts are still unknown. The group survives by collecting taxes from locals and at times, getting ransom from captives.