Somalia's government has issued a sharp "no" to the candidacy of a high-level al-Shabab defector for a regional presidency.
A statement by the internal security ministry says Mukhtar Robow is not eligible to run for the leadership of the South West region because he is still under sanctions.
Robow is the highest-ranking official to have ever quit the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab. He surrendered to the government last year after the United States cancelled a $5 million reward offered for his capture.
Robow announced his candidacy for the regional presidency this week.
He caused a minor sensation shortly after the massive truck bombing in Mogadishu a year ago when photos showed him donating blood for victims. He also called the bombing that killed well over 500 people an "irreligious" and "heartless" act.