The United States on Wednesday called on the Somali government to facilitate ways in which fighters of Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab can reject terrorism and join efforts in reconstruction of the country.

The U.S. embassy in Somalia also lauded the efforts of the government to facilitate the defections of former and current Al-Shabaab members. “The U.S. encourages the Somali government to continue to create pathways for Al-Shabaab members to reject terrorism and join efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous country for all Somalis,” the embassy said in a statement issued in Mogadishu. The statement comes after former deputy leader of the militant group Al-Shabaab Mukhtar Robow surrendered to the government on Sunday. Robow, also known as Abu Mansur, officially announced Tuesday that he left Al-Shabaab more than five years ago. “I fell out with the group over ideological differences five years and seven months ago. I was living in the Bakol region and Al-Shabab attacked me there. They tried to kill me, but I defended myself,” Robow told journalists in Mogadishu on Tuesday.

Robow, who co-founded Al-Shabaab leader who once had a 5 million U.S. dollar bounty on his head had been on the run from his former fellow militants, and set up a base in his hometown Abal area, in southwest Somalia. The United States said it supports a Somali-led process of degrading Al-Shabaab’s influence using a comprehensive approach, including through high-level defections, reconciliation, and improved governance and service delivery. Meanwhile, U.S.-based human rights group has urged the Somali government to investigate alleged human rights abuses by Robow. The Human Rights Watch said the Somali government needs to investigate Robow’s role and ensure that those responsible for the worst abuses are not able to escape just punishment.”International law prohibits amnesties for those responsible for grave abuses. Mukhtar Robow had a leadership role in Al-Shabaab at a time when we documented indiscriminate attacks on civilians, forced recruitment of children and other abuses against residents under the group’s control,” HRW said.

Source: Xinhua/Newsghana.com.gh