A senior Al-Shabaab commander surrendered to Somali authorities in southern Somalia on Friday, government officials said.
A local administrator in Gedo region, Isaaq Hussein Mursal told journalists that the militant commander Abdinor Moallim Hassan handed himself over to government officials in the Bardhere town in Gedo region.
“Abdinor presented himself to our officers in Bardhere town. He was carrying an AK-47 gun and six pistols,” said Mursal.
Mursal said the government was open to receive defectors from the militant group Al-Shabaab as part of the amnesty program announced last year.
Hassan’s surrender adds to several middle level and high profile defections by Al-Shabaab elements as Somali and African Union forces intensify their offensives against the militants.
This past week has seen several military operations in southern Somalia particularly Lower Shabelle region which remains one of the strongholds of the group.
Al-Shabaab leadership has not commented on the defection.