A former al-Shabab commander has been cleared to run for public office in Somalia in this month’s regional election.
He left the militant group in 2012 and surrendered in August last year.
Mukhtar Robow, also known as Abu Mansoor, was previously banned from running by the central government.
But the Baidoa regional election commission has now cleared him for running for the presidency of South-West state.
The chairman of the regional elections commission said he has a right to run for the office as he is a Somali citizen.
He was one of the founders of al-Shabab and trained with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
He then became one of the highest ranking al-Shabab militants to defect because of what he called ideological differences.
In June last year, following reports that he was in talks with the Somali government, the US State Department removed him from its terror list and revoked a $5m (£3.8m) reward for his capture.