Islamic extremists suffer defections in Somalia

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Islamic extremists suffer defections in Somalia

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In Somalia, more than 200 al-Shabaab fighters have surrendered to African Union and Somali government forces.

The al-Qaeda linked group currently controls large areas of the south of the country and the mass defection is seen as a major blow.

The fighters are reported to have disengaged peacefully around the town of Garsale, about 80 kilometres north of the capital Mogadishu.

“We as al-Shabaab in the Middle Shabelle region decided to surrender to the national government and African Union troops. We want to work together with government soldiers and the Union from now on,” said former militant Sheikh Ahmed Ali.

Al-Shabbab claimed responsibility for shooting dead a Somalian MP as he left a Mosque in the southern Waberi district on Saturday.

They have threatened to kill all of the country’s politicians.

The militant Islamists have stepped up attacks including bombings and assassinations in Mogadishu in recent weeks.

They have yet to comment on the mass defection.