News / Africa

    Key Al-Shabab Commander Captured

    FILE - Suspected Al-Shabab militants captured during Thursday's attack on African Union base are seen in Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 25, 2014.
    FILE - Suspected Al-Shabab militants captured during Thursday's attack on African Union base are seen in Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 25, 2014.
    VOA News

    Authorities in Somalia say they have captured one of the most wanted al-Shabab commanders.

    Zakariye Ismail Hersi was captured in a raid Saturday morning in the town of El Wak near the border with Kenya.

    General Abbas Ibrahim Gurey, the commander of Somali government troops in the southern Gedo region, told VOA's Somali service that authorities received a tip from members of the public that al-Shabab suspects were hiding in a house.

    Gurey said that Hersi was captured with his secretary. The general said Hersi, who had a pistol on him, did not put up any resistance during the raid.

    In June 2012, the U.S. put a $3 million reward for the capture of Hersi, describing him as an associate of former al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.

    In an interview with VOA Saturday while in custody, Hersi himself confirmed that he was a member of al-Shabab. He said he left the group 18 months ago after differences with the leadership.

    He said he was not aware if the U.S. had placed a bounty on him.

    Hersi said he never became the intelligence chief of al-Shabab, as had earlier been reported.  He said he held other positions, including head of Regional Administrations and was one of the commanders of al-Shabab militias.

    The former head of the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, Matty Bryden, described Hersi as a senior official in al-Shabab who was identified by many members of the group as its intelligence chief at one time.

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    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    December 28, 2014 1:16 PM
    How could anyone suggest that this man should not be interrogated using whatever measures are necessary to find out where the rest of the monsters are hiding? How many more should die because someone is afraid of trampling on his "rights?" What rights, the right to kill as many people as they can? How would you explain that to the families of future victims who might have been saved? The next stop for him should be GITMO and President Obama should let the CIA do its job as it best sees fit.

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Xamar-Weyne, Somalia
    December 28, 2014 1:57 AM
    Not captured, he was surrendered to local police after running out places to hide. This is a sign of Al Shabaab's breakdown into pieces. It's not secret that Somalia government is trying ways to claim $ 3 millions reward on the capture of this terrorist. Hope they wont get it.

    by: ali from: Berbera, Somaliland.
    December 28, 2014 12:23 AM
    A golden chance has presented itself to Somalia authorities and AU forces fighting the Al Shabab militants, with the recent capture of the Al Shabab commander. Moreover, the arrest of three members of the militant group, who attacked the AU base in Mogadishu is another golden opportunity to destroy the militants by extracting information into working methods of the group from these four insurgents.

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