Somalia’s Puntland administration through an announcement on March 16, 2016 by the Information Minister Mohamud Hassan extended amnesty to al Shabaab fighters that surrendered. The announcement came after dozens of militants arrived by boats, seized towns for a few hours en route to the mountainous Bari region.
The militants who have been linked to the de facto leader of the ISIS-affiliated faction of the al Shabaab were engaged by the Puntland security forces that killed at least 20 militants driving the others to retreat and hide in holes and caves.
The amnesty call was extended to both the young fighters and the leader as a way of motivating the mislead youths into surrendering to the government. Surveys have indicated that due to the economic and security turmoil in Somalia, youths are forced into joining the al Shabaab to be able to fend for their families by a mere promise of a better future with the fighters.
The amnesty offer comes at such a time when Somalia is preparing for the general elections that seek to unify all the states under one firm federal government despite many hurdles and dispute on the preferred 4.5 clan based electoral model adopted earlier in the year.