Mogadishu: Former Al Shabaab intelligence chief Zakariye Ismail Hersi, who surrendered to the government of Somalia last year, has urged the militant group to lay down its weapons and embrace dialogue with the government for the sake of peace.
Hersi, who was delisted few months ago from the US State Department’s list of most wanted people with a bounty of $3 million, said it was time the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Shabaab opted for a peaceful settlement for its grievances, noting that everyone was getting exhausted over the war, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We want peace in this country. Killing and maiming people have not contributed even an inch to the development of this country. I am asking you to change your minds and dialogue with the government,” he said in Mogadishu on Wednesday.
Hersi was among a couple of other senior Al Shabaab commanders who surrendered to the government over claims he had fallen out with the terrorist group.
The Somali government late last year announced an amnesty for Al Shabaab militants to surrender while at the same time engaging in a fierce battle with the group alongside the African Union backed force in Somalia, Amisom.
Hersi’s surrender last year is considered a major milestone for Somalia with the hope that he would provide much needed intelligence and also encourage other Al Shabaab fighters to surrender.