Somali government urges militants to embrace peace

Mogadishu: Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud Saturday called on Islamist militants to “embrace peace” following the death of Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in a US drone attack.

The Somali government and the US administration confirmed that the militant leader died in the drone attack Monday in the Shabelle region, Xinhua reported.

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“I say to the members of Al Shabaab, Godane is dead and now is the chance for members of Al Shabaab to embrace peace,” Hassan said in a statement.

The Somali government said that many fighters had joined the group for financial gains in order to support their families.

The government earlier offered an amnesty during the 45-day ultimatum given following the killing of the Al Shabaab leader.

Hassan said the US forces carried out the air raid “with the full knowledge and agreement” of the government.

“This is an international battle against the scourge of terrorism and the government and the people of Somalia greatly value the support of our international allies,” Hassan said.

He said the government welcomed both direct interventions to take out key militant leaders and “longer term capacity building through the training and equipping of our reconstituting Somali security forces”.

The Somali government said those who remain involved in Al Shabaab activities and fail to take advantage of the amnesty offered to them would meet “the fate of Godane”.