Sunday 22 October 2017

Leader of Islamist extremist group with $3m bounty on his head 'quits'

A former senior Al-Shabab commander, Zakariya Ismail Hersi , speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday, Jan, 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
A former senior Al-Shabab commander, Zakariya Ismail Hersi , speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday, Jan, 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Press Association

A leader with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab - who has a 3 million US dollars bounty on his head - has announced that he has quit the insurgency and renounced violence perpetrated by the al Qaida-linked group.

Zakariya Ismail Hersi, who was al-Shabab's intelligence chief, called for reconciliation while speaking to the media for the first time since his surrender last year. Hersi surrendered to Somali authorities late December.

Some analysts say Hersi defected fearing for his life due to friction with colleagues loyal to Ahmed Godane, the al-Shabab leader who was killed in a US air strike last year.

Hersi was one of seven top al-Shabab officials the Obama administration offered in 2012 a total reward of 33 million US dollars for information leading to their capture. It is not clear who gets the bounty.

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