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Captured al-Shabab Fighter Claims to be American


FILE - Al-Shabab Somali militiman displays weapon during exercises at training camp outside Mogadishu, Somalia.

Authorities in southern Somalia have captured an American who was a member of the militant group al-Shabab.

First reported by VOA's Somali Service, a U.S. State Department official Monday confirmed that the man surrendered to officials and African Union troops in the coastal town of Barawe, in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region.

The official identified the man as Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, aka “Miski,” who was born in Somalia but is a permanent resident of the United States.

The U.S. mission in Somalia is discussing his case with the government of Somalia. The two countries do not have an extradition agreement.

Somali officials said the man apparently escaped an assassination attempt by fellow al-Shabab fighters after a fight between two factions of the group.

Al-Shabab is increasingly divided over whether it should remained allied with al-Qaida or realign with the Islamic State militant group.

Al-Shabab's leaders have said they remain committed to al-Qaida and recently warned pro-IS fighters to leave Somalia or be driven out by force.