Somalia appoints former al-Shabab spokesman minister of religions | Al-Shabab News

The co-founder and former spokesman of al-Shabab has been under house arrest since 2018.

Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre has appointed the country’s new cabinet, choosing former al-Shabab spokesman Muktar Robow as minister, a move that could either help bolster the fight against the insurgency or provoke clashes between clans.

In televised remarks on Tuesday, Barre said Robow, who once received a US$5 million bounty on his head before splitting from al-Shabab in 2013, would be the minister in charge of religion. .

“After extensive deliberations with the president and the public, I have appointed ministers who have training and experience and they will fulfill their duties,” Barre said before announcing the cabinet appointments. “I ask parliament to approve the cabinet.”

Robow, under house arrest for three years, also used to serve like a deputy leader of al-Shabab, the armed group linked to al-Qaeda.

In December 2018, he was in the southwestern state of Somalia while campaigning for the regional presidency. The protests that followed were put down with lethal force, with security forces shooting at least 11 people.

Do or spoil

Some analysts have speculated that Robow, who has long denounced al-Shabab, could help bolster government forces in his home region of Bakool, where the group holds significant amounts of territory.

New President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, elected by lawmakers in May, has vowed to lead the fight against armed groups after three years in which his politically inflicted predecessor took little action against al-Shabab.

The group frequently attacks civilians and government officials and installations.

In February, he attacked election delegates in the capital, Mogadishu. The delegates were not injured but six bystanders were killed.

This allowed the group to build up large cash reserves and carry out attacks across a large swath of the country.

This new cabinet, appointed nearly 40 days after new Prime Minister Barre took office, will need the approval of the Somali parliament.

Minnie J. Leonard