The Al-Shabaab group has threatened to kill its former spokesperson Mukhtar Robow after he defected from the armed group in August last year and joining the UN-backed government, Reuters reported.
The group fell out with Robow in 2013, and he has been on the run since. Al-Shabaab has now broken its silence on the case.
"If Mukhtar Robow thinks he can destroy Islamic sharia and the mujahedeen, he is deluded. Allah will protect Islam and Jihad will not stop just because of you and your likes who joined the enemies," Ali Mohamud Rage, Al-Shabaab's spokesman, said.
"No doubt, Mukhtar Robow left his religion and joined the disbelievers and the enemies are still the enemies."
"Anybody who joins the line of non-Muslims is an apostate who can be killed," Rage continued.
Robow surrendered to the Somali government last year. Since then, over 50 Al-Shabaab members have defected and joined the former spokesperson who is leading an armed group called "Aaro Aaro" – or Spiders.
The Al-Shabaab armed group has been fighting for over a decade to dislodge the government and implement a strict version of Islamic law across the country. The group frequently launches improvised explosive attacks across the capital Mogadishu, targeting civilians. The group were pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, and have lost large swathes of territory.
In 2013, Omar Hammami, an American citizen who was also a member of Al-Shabaab fell out with the group over ideological and operational differences. Hammami accused Al-Shabaab leaders of living extravagant lives after taking taxes from Somali locals. Al-Shabaab intelligence services tracked and killed Hammami in late 2013.