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ICC Note:

According to a Somali intelligence officer, the core leader of al-Shabaab, a radical Islamic insurgency based out of Somalia that has essentially eradicated Christianity from that country, Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi, surrendered to Somali authorities today. While the reasoning behind his surrender remains unclear, some speculate fractional divides within the core leadership could have pushed Hersi to seek out protection. Others speculate that offers of amnesty by the Somali government lured Hersi motivated Hersi to surrender before suffering the fate of his predecessor: being targeted by a U.S. airstrike. It’s our hope that, following another loss in core leadership, al-Shabaab, who despite losing vast swathes of territory in Somalia is still responsible for the deaths of an estimated 150-175 Christians this year alone, will continue on a path towards collapse.

12/28/2014 Somalia (The Guardian) – A leader with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab who had a $3m bounty on his head has surrendered in Somalia, a Somali intelligence official said on Saturday.

Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi surrendered to Somali police in the Gedo region, said the intelligence officer, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

Hersi may have surrendered because he fell out with those loyal to Ahmed Abdi Godane, al-Shabaab’s top leader who was killed in a US airstrike earlier this year, the officer said.

Hersi was one of seven top al-Shabaab officials whom the Obama administration offered a total $33m in rewards for information leading to their capture in 2012. It is not clear if the reward will be paid out for Hersi, because he surrendered.

Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabaab remains a threat in Somalia and the east African region. The group has carried out many terror attacks in Somalia and some in neighbouring countries including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union troops bolstering Somalia’s weak United Nations-backed government.

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