Adaado ‚Äî Al Shabaab official Hassan Dahir Aweys – on the US most wanted terrorist list – has been reportedly captured in the town of Adaado on Wednesday after fleeing Al Shabaab infighting in southern Somalia, Garowe Online reports.
Local sources told GO that at first a group of armed pirates captured the Al Shabaab leader in the Himan and Heeb area in Galgudud region. The former Hizbul Islam Chief, Hassan Dahir Aweys was making his way reportedly to the pirate strongholds of Hobyo and Harardheere.
Sources continued to say that the pirates in the area handed the wanted terrorist over to the Himan and Heeb administration in the area. The administration in the area is currently holding discussions with Somali Federal Government (SFG) and other stakeholders on how to transfer Aweys.
SFG President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stated that Aweys should be transferred to Mogadishu where he would stand trial for his crimes. Sources tell GO that Ethiopia and the U.S. are also requesting his handover as they are concerned about a judicial hearing of such a high ranking Al Shabaab official.
The arrest of Aweys comes as Al Shabaab infighting has reached a climax. The terrorist group battled each other in the ancient port city of Barawe resulting in 15 deaths. Aweys and Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane had a falling out after Aweys did not agree with the harsh sentences and “dictatorial behaviour” of the Al Shabaab leader.
Aweys’ capture comes one day after news broke that he had entered the region of Galguduud. The arrest is one of the most high profile arrests of an Al Shabaab official since its creation.
The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added him to the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on November 7, 2001. The UN also designated Aweys as a terrorist calling him “an individual associated with Al Qaeda”.