A group of 70 former al Shabaab members were granted amnesty by the Somali government after undergoing over six months of rehabilitation at a militants Rehab center in Mogadishu. The program seeks to reintegrate former al-Shabab foot soldiers and low-risk individuals into society. He said defectors receive food, exercise, health checkups, education and vocational training.
At the center, the former militants attend awareness lectures and debates that help them denounce the extremist views they previously held. According to clerics and staffers at the center, the fighters that defect are ready to abandon the radical ways and be productive members of the society.
The amnesty and rehabilitation program was launched in 2009 and has centers in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Beledweyne, Huddur and Kismayo, each treating 30 to 70 men. Of the rehabilitated people, some have returned to school, become entrepreneurs and others have joined the army to aid in the way against al Shabaab.
Most defectors have been seen to take the example of Mukhtar Robow based on ideological differences with the group’s actions. Mukhtar Robow is a founder of al-Shabab and the group’s former deputy emir. He defected to the government last month, five years after he became inactive with al-Shabab, because of ideological differences with the group’s then-supreme leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane.
In the past months, the rehabilitation program has seen increased cases of defection an indication that Somalia is slowly stabilizing and tightening the noose against the insurgents prompting low-ranking and members with ideological difference and change of heart to want to be integrated back into the society.