Former commander of militant Islamist group Al-Shabab has announced that he is running for public office in Somalia.
Mukhtar Robow left the group in 2012, and surrendered to the government in August last year.
He says he will be contesting the presidency of South-West state in next month’s regional elections following requests from people in the area.
Mr Robow has expressed his willingness, if he wins, to forge a strong relationship with the federal government, which has been feuding with some state administrations.
In 2000 he trained with Al-Qaeda and fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Robow was later blacklisted by the United States as a terrorist leader.
A founder of al-Shabab, he is the highest ranking militant to defect from the group.
Robow and other leading Al-Shabaab members challenged the leadership of Ahmed Abdi Godane (Moktar Ali Zubeyr) at Barawe in June 2013.
Godane killed two of the leading members, and Robow fled to his home district. Godane’s forces launched an offensive against Robow’s supporters, it was reported in August 2013.
In June last year, following reports that Robow was in talks with the Somali government, the US State Department removed him from its terror list and scrapped a $5 million reward for his capture.
He quit al-Shabab because of what he called ideological differences, and then led his own militant group, which fought against al-Shabab.
In a press conference held in Mogadishu in August 2017, he denounced Al-Shabaab and called on its members to quit the group.