At least 11 dead in clashes over arrest of a former al-Shabab leader turned politician

The arrest of a former al-Shabab commander in Somalia, Mukhtar Robow, who is contesting in next week's regional elections has led to the killings of at least 11 people including civilians and soldiers.

Supporters protesting the arrest of Mukhtar Robow, who the government called a security threat, clashed with security forces in Baidoa.

A government statement released after his arrest
said Robow had been organising a militia in Baidoa.

"These actions indicate that he never relinquished his extremist ideologies and is ready to harm the Somali people again," the statement said.

Among those killed in protests on Friday was a member of the regional parliament, Baidoa elder Saleh Isak told Reuters news agency.

Mukhtar Robow, a former spokesman for the jihadist al-Shabab group, is seeking the presidency of South West state.

The federal government, two months ago banned him from participating in the elections but Somalia's electoral commission gave him the go-ahead.

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