NAIROBI, Kenya (TheBlaze/AP) — A Somali intelligence official says a leader with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, who has a $3 million bounty on his head, surrendered in Somalia.
The intelligence officer, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said Saturday Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi surrendered to Somali police in the Gedo region.
The officer said Hersi may have surrendered because he fell out with those loyal to Ahmed Godane, al-Shabab's top leader who was killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this year.
Hersi was one of eight top al-Shabab officials whom the Obama administration offered a total $33 million in rewards for information leading to their capture in 2012.
The terror group has long plagued eastern Africa with religious violence.
Al-Shabab is believed to have been behind the November bus hijacking and killing of 28 non-Muslims in Kenya, who were singled out based on their knowledge of the Koran.
A protester lays red-painted crosses on the street, symbolizing the blood of the 28 non-Muslims singled out and killed in the recent attack on a bus in Mandera by Somali militant group al-Shabab, outside government offices in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
On Christmas Day, al-Shabab launched an attack at the African Union base in Mogadishu. Nine people died, including three African Union soldiers, in the attack on the complex, which also houses U.N. offices and western embassies. Al-Shabab said the attack was aimed at a Christmas party and was in retaliation for the killing of the group's leader Godane.
Al-Shabab also claimed that 14 soldiers were killed but the group often exaggerates the number of people it kills.
Al-Shabab is waging an Islamic insurgency against Somalia's government that is attempting to rebuild the country after decades of conflict that was sparked off by the 1991 ouster of dictator Siad Barre.
Despite suffering major losses such as losing major cities, al-Shabab remains a threat in Somalia and Kenya.
This story has been updated.
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