Somalia offers amnesty to al-Shabab extremists
In this Feb. 13, 2012 photo, an armed member of the militant group al-Shabab attends a rally on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP)
Rodney Muhumuza, The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, September 3, 2014 8:22AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 3, 2014 3:51PM EDT
MOGADISHU, Somalia -- Somalia's government is offering amnesty to fighters with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab.
The government said in a statement following a Cabinet-level security meeting that it is giving al-Shabab militants up to 45 days to take up the offer.
Somali Security Minister Khalif Ahmed Ereg said the government "will create a better livelihood to build their future for those who meet the deadline."
The offer of amnesty comes after a U.S. airstrike that targeted al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, whose fate remains unclear.
And Somali forces, backed by African Union troops, last week launched an offensive on al-Shabab's last strongholds in southern Somalia.
Al-Shabab is believed to have thousands of fighters in its ranks, fighting to impose Sharia law on Somalia.