A senior al-Shabab official defected from the group and surrendered to the Somali government in the Bay region of Southwest state, amid a wave of victories against the militants which are attributed to ongoing crackdown against the group which controls large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia.
According to the state-owned Somali News Agency, Sonna Dhurre Yusuf Garow aka Hilal deserted the group and surrendered to the 60th division of the Somali National Force operating in the areas of the South West state.
Dhurre Yusuf Garow was Dhurre was responsible for guerrilla operations for the militants who are fighting the Somali government for over a decade.
To effectively defeat the Al-Shabaab, the national army has given room for defections from the group with those taking advantage being rehabilitated before repatriation to the community. Hundreds of the militants have previously made use of the grace period window to defect to the government.
According to the state media, his actions were welcomed by top SNA commanders who insisted that the amnesty is part of the strategy to completely neutralize Al-Shabaab militants.
Despite the loss of the major towns and villages, the group is still capable of carrying out deadly attacks on government institutions and military bases.
The defection of Dhurre comes barely two months after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called on young al-Shabab fighters to surrender to the government.
Since assuming office in May last year, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has launched a major offensive against the Al-Shabaab militants.
According to a report by Somalia’s Defence Ministry, about 70 towns and villages have been liberated from the hands of the Al-Shabaab by the Somali National Forces with the support of the locals in the past six months.