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MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Former Somali insurgent leader Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur has defected to the government, a military official said on Sunday, severing ties with Islamist group al Shabab two months after the U.S. quietly removed a $5 million reward for his capture.

"Robow and his seven bodyguards are now in Hudur with local officials. He will be flown to Mogadishu soon," Colonel Nur Mohamed, a Somali military officer, told Reuters by phone from the southwestern town of Hudur.

(Reporting by Feisal Omar and Abdi Guled; writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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