Renegade al-Shabab leader defects to government

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A renegade leader of Somalia's Islamic extremist insurgents, al-Shabab, has surrendered to the government.

Ahmed Mohamed, a senior government security official, said that Mukhtar Robow arrived Sunday in the government-controlled town of Hudur in southwestern Somalia. He said Robow was airlifted from the Bakool jungle area where he and hundreds of his militia have been fighting al-Shabab since early last week.

Robow's defection comes after the United States in June cancelled a $5 million reward offered for his capture. His surrender is culmination of months of negotiations and it is believed the cancellation of the bounty for his capture helped convince Robow to give himself up to the Somalia government.

Robow, who was the deputy director of al-Shabab, is the highest official to have ever quit the group.