A top Al-Shabaab leader Hussein Mukhtar has surrendered to the Somali National Army in Baidoa town, in southern Somalia, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Thursday confirmed.
The AU mission confirmed that Mukhtar surrendered to the Somali National Army (SNA) on Tuesday following a government amnesty offer for militants to surrender.
“AMISOM calls on Al-Shabaab fighters to heed the government’s amnesty,’’ AMISOM said in a statement.
AMISOM also described Mukhtar’s decision to surrender as courageous, urging other fighters in the terror group to follow suit.
“Amisom hopes that other sons and daughters of Somalia who have been misled into terrorist acts will [emulate Mukhtar],” the mission said via Twitter.
“[They should] lay down their weapons and join other Somalis in rebuilding their country,” it added, noting the government had offered amnesty.
The Somali government announced an amnesty offer in 2014 to members of the al-Qaida linked group al-Shabaab, which had been launching attacks on government forces and AMISOM.
The insurgency in Somalia wants to topple the government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.
Al-Shabaab ruled most of south-central Somalia until 2011 when it was driven out of Mogadishu by African Union troops.
Despite the loss of territory, the terror group still carries out major gun and bomb attacks against nations that have contributed troops to Amisom.