The first time a western diplomat has met with the former Al Shabaab leader was on Wednesday when Norwegian Charge d’Affaires Haakon Svane visited Somalia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Mukhtar Robow Ali Abu Mansour at his office in Mogadishu.
Svane tweeted his appreciation for getting to meet the new minister
We are grateful for the chance to speak with Salah Sharif, the deputy minister, and Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, the new minister for religious affairs and endowment in Somalia, in their office today to discuss the goals and priorities of the federal government in this area.
Robow was incarcerated after Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre chose him to lead religious matters in his new government earlier this month. Robow had previously called democracy “unbelief” (kufr).
Due to his participation in the establishment of the violent insurgency organisation connected with al-Qaeda, Mukhtar Robow Ali was once the target of a $5 million US bounty. He defected in 2013 following an ongoing dispute with the group’s leader.
The South West State of Somalia’s politics were upended when Robow decided to run for president. After disqualifying and detaining him, the federal administration, supported by Ethiopian armed troops, forcefully put down protesters.
The South West State of Somalia’s politics were upended when Robow decided to run for president. As a result, the federal authorities forcefully suppressed protesters and finally detained him to stop him from running for office.
The government of Somalia kicked out Nicholas Haysom, who had been the special representative of the UN secretary general for Somalia at the time, when he questioned the legitimacy of Robow’s detention in a letter to the interior minister.