The director of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Hussein Osman Hussein has held talks with former Al-Shabaab leader, Mukhtar Robow whose bid to contest for the presidency of the Southwest State was rejected by the Somali government.

The meeting which took place in Baidoa, the administrative capital of South West state focused on the directive by Somali interior ministry stating Robow was not eligible to run for the leadership of the South West State.

No official statement detailing the outcome of the meeting has been issued although sources privy to the meeting hinted possibility of holding further talks in Mogadishu.

Last Thursday, Mr. Robow while addressing hundreds of his supporters in a welcoming rally in Baidoa, announced his bid to become president of South West regional state.

“After receiving requests from the people of this region and their intellectuals, I have decided to run for the president of this state in the coming election,” Robow said. “I have accepted the requests and God willing, we will win and peace will prevail.”

Mr. Robow was the subject of a $5 million bounty from the United States for his role with the Al-Qaeda linked Islamist group before he was removed from U.S. terror list last year.

He defected to the federal government late last year after his split with former Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane five years ago that led him to seek safety in his hometown in Somalia’s Southwest Bakool region.