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Top Somali Extremist Leader Reportedly Surrenders

Top al-Shabab leader Zakariye Ismail Ahmed Hersi, for whose capture the U.S. has offered $3 million, has turned himself in, an intelligence official in Somalia says, according to The Associated Press.

The AP says: "The intelligence officer says he turned himself in to Somali police in the Gedo region. The officer said Hersi may have surrendered because he had a falling out with those loyal to Ahmed Abdi Godane, al-Shabab's top leader who was killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this year."

The BBC calls Hersi "a leading figure in the militant group's intelligence wing."

Meanwhile, Voice of America says that Hersi was captured in a morning raid in the town of El Wak, near the Kenyan border.

VOA reports that Gen. 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 2012, the U.S. State Department offered a $3 million for the capture of Hersi, describing him as an associate of Godane's.

Hersi's capture comes days after a suspected al-Shabab militant attacked an African Union base in Somalia, killing three peacekeeping troops and a civilian contractor.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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