Somalia’s parliament has approved the appointment of a new cabinet which includes the former spokesman of militant Islamist group al-Shabab, the state-owned news agency Sonna has reported.
Mukhtar Robow’s appointment as religious affairs minister was announced by Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre on Tuesday.
He had defected from al-Shabab in 2013, and had been placed under house arrest by the former government.
Some analysts saw his appointment as an attempt by the new government to wage an ideological war against al-Shabab.
Others saw it as condoning the crimes of the al-Qaeda affiliate, which has waged a brutal insurgency in Somalia for more than a decade.
The former al-Shabab spokesman is part of a cabinet of 25 ministers and 26 deputy ministers appointed by the premier after a new president took power in Somalia earlier this year.
The new cabinet was endorsed by 229 MPs, with seven opposing it and one abstaining, Sonna reported.
The UN office for Somalia said it looked forward to working with the cabinet to achieve stability, reconciliation and development.