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According to the officials, the fighters surrendered to the soldiers requesting amnesty, and handed over their weapons and ammunition.
“Al-Shabaab youths surrendered themselves and their weapons to us,” said Ahmed Abdi, a TFG officer in Dhobley. He added: “We bought their weapons and freed them to go wherever they wanted.”
Military officials praised the latest defections and urged all al-Shabaab militants to surrender themselves to the authorities failure to which they will launch an attack aimed at capturing them.
Abdi said, “For those caught fighting, they will never be forgiven, but those who surrendered will be left free.”
Abdlaahi Mohamed Abu Qudama, one of the defectors, said the there was a big disappointment within al-Shabaab group following the recent airstrikes that struck some of its bases in Lower Jubba.
He said the fighters feared that another airstrike could recur, crushing the Islamist movement.
“Fear has gripped the fighters, all the leaders have disappeared and their whereabouts are still unknown up to now,” he said, adding that they had been left fighting on the frontlines alone. “That is the main reason why we have surrendered ourselves.”