Captured al-Shabab Fighter Claims to be American

FILE - Al-Shabab Somali militiman displays weapon during exercises at training camp outside Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP)



An official in southern Somalia says authorities have captured an American who was a member of militant group al-Shabab.

Hussein Mohamed Barre tells VOA’s Somali Service the man surrendered to officials and African Union troops in the coastal town of Barawe, in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region.

Town district commissioner Barre did not disclose the man’s name, but said he declared himself to be a U.S. citizen.

Barre said the man apparently escaped an assassination attempt by fellow al-Shabab fighters after a fight between two factions of the group.

Al-Shabab is increasingly divided over whether it should remained allied with al-Qaida or realign with the Islamic State militant group.

Al-Shabab’s leaders have said they remain committed to al-Qaida and recently warned pro-IS fighters to leave Somalia or be driven out by force.

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