Top Somali insurgent defects to govt

Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, left, speaks to media in Mogadishu, Somalia, in this file photo. (AP)
Updated 13 August 2017
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Top Somali insurgent defects to govt

MOGADISHU: A former Somali insurgent leader Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur has defected to the government, a military official said on Sunday, severing ties with Al-Shabab terrorist group.
Al-Shabab fell out with its former spokesman and deputy leader Robow in 2013 and he has been laying low in the jungles with his forces since then. The rebels have launched multiple attacks to try kill or capture him.
An army official said in June there were negotiations between the government and Robow but there were no guarantees that he would defect. He said it had sent soldiers to try to defend him.
“Robow and his seven bodyguards are now in Hudur with local officials. He will be flown to Mogadishu soon,” Col. Nur Mohamed, a Somali military officer, told Reuters by phone from the southwestern town of Hudur.
His defection comes two months after the US removed a $5 million reward for his capture and took him off its list of sponsors of terrorism after five years. It was not immediately clear if the timing of the defection was linked.
Nonetheless, it could give pro-government forces more freedom to operate in the regions of Bay and Bakool, slicing Al-Shabab’s operational territory in two.
It was not immediately clear what would now happen to Robow, but residents and an analyst were doubtful over the impact of the move.
“It is not a good news. The government should eliminate Robow and the militants who fight him. Otherwise, it is recycling the insurgency and militants,” resident Mohamed Edin, told Reuters.
Mohamed Aden, a history lecturer at a Mogadishu university, told Reuters: “If criminals are not taken to court, then there will be no peace.”
Al-Shabab has been fighting for years to try to topple Somalia’s central government.
The militants, who are allied with Al-Qaeda, were driven out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011. They have also lost nearly all other territory they previously controlled after an offensive by Somali government troops and African Union-mandated AMISOM peacekeepers.
Al-Shabab, however, remains a formidable threat and frequently carries out bombings both in Mogadishu and other towns against both military and civilian targets.


Russian tourist allegedly gang-raped in India

Updated 4 min 30 sec ago
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Russian tourist allegedly gang-raped in India

NEW DELHI: Indian police were holding six men on Thursday after a Russian tourist was allegedly drugged and gang-raped in a popular southern tourist town, officials said.
Media reports said the 21-year-old had bite marks on her face and arms when she was found naked and unconscious on the floor of her hostel room early on Monday.
“Six men have been detained over the rape and drugging of the woman,” investigating officer Mangayar Karasi said.
The woman, who was traveling on her own, had arrived in the town of Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu state, 190 kilometers from Chennai, last Thursday.
Those in custody included the hostel manger and her tourist guide, who told police he found her on the floor hours after they had consensual sex, another investigator said.
She said the woman was being treated in hospital for a drug overdose and minor injuries, with efforts being made to record her statement.
The medical report has confirmed sexual assault, the officer said.
Local and foreign tourists flock to Tiruvannamalai for its 9th-century Annamalaiyar Temple, one of the largest Hindu temple complexes spread over 10 hectares (25 acres).
Sexual violence is rife in India with nearly 110 rapes reported every day but activists say that figure is the tip of the iceberg as most cases go unreported.
Several foreign tourists have been sexually assaulted in India in recent months.
Last month a Japanese tourist was raped by a taxi driver in a north Indian town, followed by the rape of a 20-year-old Canadian tourist by her guest house owner in Delhi.
India’s junior interior minister Wednesday told the national parliament that 110,333 rape cases were reported in the country between 2014 and 2016.
The country’s dire record on sexual violence has been in the global spotlight since the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a woman on a New Delhi bus sparked angry protests.
The incident led to tougher sentences and reforms in the country’s rape laws but sexual crime against women, as well as against minors, remain rampant.