PRESS RELEASE: Former Al-Shabaab Senior Official Condemns The Group

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27 January 2015, Mogadishu – I, Zakria Ismail Hersi aka Zaki, would like to make a public statement today, January 27th, 2015. As you are well aware, I was a member of Al-Shabaab and I held a number of senior positions within that organisation.

Today, thanks to ALLAH, I have the opportunity to talk about a number of issues. I have been waiting a long time for this golden opportunity to speak to my people and to tell them the truth about Al-Shabaab.

I look back to the original aims and objectives of Al-Shabaab, which many well-intentioned people would have welcomed. Unfortunately, few individuals that had their devious agenda, which I suspect to have foreign influence, have hijacked those aims and objectives.

Following was the result:
1- A distorted implementation of Shari’a law and the violation of our peaceful religion
2- A lack of unity and an entire absence of any consultation within the organization;
3- Worsening treatment of the people including numerous human rights violations;
4- Numerous violations of the basic human rights of those within Al-Shabaab too;
5- The implementation of a distorted form of the Holy Jihad, which resulted countless innocent Somali citizens being killed.

The truth of the matter is that only a few members of the Leadership were responsible for all those distorted ideology. There were a number of us who opposed the leadership’s approach and their flawed doctrine.

I can confirm that as of today I am no longer a member of Al-Shabaab and I have renounced violence as a means of resolving conflict and I will aim to achieve my goals towards peaceful means, and through reconciliation and understanding.

I call on and encourage all my friends to seek out a peaceful way of resolving all conflicts and towards reconciliation, as that organization, al-Shabaab, is now in total collapse, and that is why I am here.

Finally, I would like to thank the Federal Government of Somalia, as they have shown me respect and treated me in a humane way, for which I am very grateful. I am also very grateful that today we have a legitimate government that wants to protect its citizens.

Finally, I would like to refute the rumours that some members of Al-Shabaab believe, that the Federal Government of Somalia violates the human rights of citizens and hands over prisoners, including me, to foreign countries. These rumours are not true and are entirely baseless.

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