A prominent figure and one of the leaders of Somalia’s Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, Zakariya Ismail Hersi, says he has quit the insurgency.
Hersi, who has a $3 million bounty on his head called for reconciliation while speaking to the media for the first time since his surrender to Somali authorities in late December on Tuesday.
He also renounced violence perpetrated by the al Qaida-linked group.
“I can confirm that as of today I am no longer a member of Al-Shabaab and I have renounced violence as a means of resolving conflict and I will aim to achieve my goals towards peaceful means, and through reconciliation and understanding,’’ he said.
Hersi is one of seven top al-Shabab leaders targeted by the Obama administration in 2012 which offered rewards totaling $33 million for information leading to their capture.
However, it’s not clear, who, if anyone will get the $3 million reward on Hersi’s head.