MMP: Ras Kamboni Movement

ras kamboni movement

Ras Kamboni Movement

The Ras Kamboni Movement is an Islamist militant organization based in Somalia. It emerged as a splinter group of the Ras Kamboni Brigade.

AT A GLANCE

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Overview

Brief Summary of the Organization's History

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Organization

How does a group organize? Who leads it? How does it finance operations?

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Strategy

How does a group fight? What are its aims and ideologies? What are some of its major attacks?

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Major Attacks

What are the group's most famous attacks? What are some key attacks in the group's evolution?

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Interactions

What is the group's relationship with the community? How does it interact with other groups?

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Maps

What is the group's relationship with other militants over time?

Key Statistics

2010 First Recorded Activity
2011 First Attack
2013 Last Recorded Activity

Contact

mappingmilitants [at] lists [dot] stanford [dot] edu

How to Cite:

Mapping Militant Organizations. “Ras Kamboni Movement.” Stanford University. Last modified March 2019. mappingmilitants.cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/profiles/ras-kamboni-movement

Overview

Brief History

    Overview
  • Overview
  • Narrative

Overview

Formed2010
DisbandedGroup has not officially disbanded but does not appear to be active.
First AttackSeptember 11, 2011: Gunmen attacked David and Judith Tebbutt, a British couple staying at a resort on the Kenyan island of Kiwayu, about 25 miles from the border of Somalia. The gunmen killed David and kept Judith hostage for six months, demanding ransom. The ransom was raised and paid by Judith’s son, Oliver, and Judith was released in March 2012. The Ras Kamboni Movement claimed responsibility for the attack. (1 killed, 0 wounded). 
Last AttackAugust 26, 2013: The Ras Kamboni Movement, along with Kenyan troops, battled Al Shabaab in the port city of Kismayo. (unknown killed, unknown wounded). 
UpdatedMarch 2019

The Ras Kamboni Movement is an Islamist militia based in southern Somalia that emerged as a splinter group of the Ras Kamboni Brigade in 2010. Since its appearance as an independent group, the Ras Kamboni Movement has been led by Ahmed Mohamed Islam, better known as “Madobe,” who has also served as the president of Somalia’s Jubaland state since 2013. The Ras Kamboni Movement’s main rival is Al Shabaab, another Islamist militant organization in Somalia. The two groups have fought for control of various areas in southern Somalia, especially the major port city of Kismayo. The Ras Kamboni Movement has held de facto control of Kismayo since 2012, although it has continued to fight other militias seeking to control the city. The group has switched between cooperating with government forces and other militant groups in order to consolidate its rule. It has identified some of its principal goals as expelling Al Shabaab from southern Somalia and maintaining control of Kismayo.

Narrative

The Ras Kamboni Movement is an Islamist militia in Somalia that emerged as a splinter group of the Ras Kamboni Brigade in 2010. Since its appearance as an independent group, the Ras Kamboni Movement has been led by Ahmed Mohamed Islam, better known as “Madobe.”[i]

Madobe was initially a high-ranking leader within the Ras Kamboni Brigade, an Islamist militia in Somalia founded sometime between 2006-2008 by Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki.[ii] The Ras Kamboni Brigade took its name from a small coastal town near Somalia’s border with Kenya, which allegedly served as a training camp for Al Qaeda and other jihadi fighters in the 1990s and 2000s.[iii] It conducted prominent attacks in 2008 and primarily fought Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Ethiopian troops, which were attempting to subdue various Islamist militias across the country.[iv]

In January 2009, after the Ethiopian withdrawal from Somalia and political compromises between the TFG and certain Islamist movements, the Ras Kamboni Brigade merged with three other Islamist groups—the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia-Eritrea, Jabhatul Islamiya, and Anole—to create Hizbul Islam. These four groups were united by their opposition to the TFG and any organizations that cooperated with the TFG. Hizbul Islam had a fluctuating relationship with Somalia’s most prominent Islamist militant group, Al Shabaab; the two organizations were sometimes allies and sometimes rivals. The relationship deteriorated during 2009 as the two groups fought for control of Kismayo, a major port city. Despite the formation of Hizbul Islam, the Ras Kamboni Brigade—which included Madobe and the faction that would later become the Ras Kamboni Movement—continued to identify itself as a distinct group within Hizbul Islam.[v]

Ruptures within the Ras Kamboni Brigade as well as between the Ras Kamboni Brigade and Hizbul Islam as a whole became evident around October 2009. One faction of the Ras Kamboni Brigade—led by al-Turki—began to align itself with Al Shabaab, which was in conflict with Hizbul Islam at the time. In February 2010, al-Turki’s faction completely broke away from Hizbul Islam and officially joined Al Shabaab; the faction also pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. The other faction of the Ras Kamboni Brigade, led by Madobe, also left Hizbul Islam to form a separate group called the Ras Kamboni Movement, which opposed Al Shabaab. While the Ras Kamboni Brigade effectively ended after it joined Al Shabaab, Madobe’s Ras Kamboni Movement continued to exist as a separate entity after leaving Hizbul Islam. The Ras Kamboni Movement and the Ras Kamboni Brigade are sometimes referred to interchangeably. However, the Ras Kamboni Brigade was much less active than the Ras Kamboni Movement has been.[vi]

Unlike al-Turki’s followers, the Ras Kamboni Movement strongly opposes Al Shabaab and has allegedly cooperated with government forces against it. The conflict between the Ras Kamboni Movement and Al Shabaab reportedly stemmed from the latter’s attempt to monopolize control of Kismayo. In 2010, the Ras Kamboni Movement declared that it viewed Al Shabaab as a critical threat and announced its intention to fight Al Shabaab until it expelled that group from Somalia.[vii] In 2012, the Ras Kamboni Movement allegedly worked with a coalition of African Union, Kenyan, and Somali government troops to drive Al Shabaab out of Kismayo. However, some Somali officials denied this cooperation.[viii]

Since Al Shabaab’s withdrawal from Kismayo in September 2012, the Ras Kamboni Movement has exercised de facto control over the city, and the group has barred Somali government officials from entering Kismayo.[ix] Much of the Ras Kamboni Movement’s activities have centered on Kismayo, including violently punishing defiance and fighting other militias to maintain control. In 2012, Ras Kamboni Movement fighters conducted attacks throughout Kismayo after a grenade was thrown at Madobe’s house. Soon afterward, a bomb exploded outside a building in which Ras Kamboni members were meeting. The group has been accused of conducting constant robberies and other violent acts throughout the city, and it once apprehended hundreds of Kismayo residents in an attempt to find fighters from Al Shabaab and other militias. The other militias that fought the Ras Kamboni Movement in Kismayo included armed groups from the Marehan clan. In February 2013, after a leader from the Marehan clan was killed in the Ras Kamboni Movement’s custody, Marehan militants launched an attack on a police station controlled by the Ras Kamboni Movement. Although Somali government forces attempted to stem the conflict, the battle between the two groups continued and ultimately killed at least eleven soldiers and civilians.[x]

Also in February 2013, in another attempt to consolidate control of Kismayo, the Ras Kamboni Movement allegedly allied with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)—a Somali nationalist separatist group—and fought against Somali government forces.[xi] Also in 2013, various clans—including Ras Kamboni Movement members—met in order to negotiate a power-sharing arrangement for the Jubaland region, an area in southern Somalia that includes Kismayo. The lengthy negotiation process is sometimes referred to as the Jubaland Convention. Madobe was initially elected president of Jubaland, but a major rival warlord named Barre Hirale—who was allegedly backed by the Somali government—also declared himself president. Barre Hirale’s militia, like many of the militias fighting the Ras Kamboni Movement, was a Marehan clan militia and has been a principal opponent of the Ras Kamboni Movement in Kismayo.[xii] Throughout 2013, clan representatives continued to meet with the goal of agreeing upon and creating a Jubaland government. In August, the Ras Kamboni Movement and the Somali federal government concluded an agreement that formally called for a Jubaland interim government and allowed the Somali federal government nominal control of Kismayo.[xiii] In November, Jubaland Convention participants convened in Mogadishu and concluded an agreement that formally recognized Madobe as Jubaland’s leader.[xiv]

In 2014, Barre Hirale’s militia agreed to talks with the Ras Kamboni Movement and other warring militias in order to end violence in Kismayo. The African Union and the Somali government have been heavily involved in brokering these talks.[xv] In 2015, Madobe was reelected as president of Jubaland, and he has promised to continue reconciliation talks that involve the Somali government and various clans.[xvi] As of 2019, there is no public evidence of further such negotiations.

The Ras Kamboni Movement has not officially disbanded, though the group does not appear to be active. The bulk of the Ras Kamboni Movement’s operations appear to have taken place in the span of three years, from its founding in 2010 to its most recent attack in 2013. While the paramilitary group’s leader, Madobe, remains engaged in Somali politics, the Ras Kamboni Movement itself has not staged an attack in over six years. Nevertheless, the group has never publicly announced its dissolution.  


[i] McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

[ii] Warah, Rasna. War Crimes: How warlords, politicians, foreign governments and aid agencies conspired to create a failed state in Somalia. Bloomington: AuthorHouse, 2014.}} {{Khalif, Abdulkadir. “Somalia: Flights Carrying Khat Banned From Kismayu Airport.” Daily Nation, 6 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{United Nations Security Council. “Letter dated 10 December 2008 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia addressed to the President of the Security Council.” 10 Dec. 2008. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Roggio, Bill. “Shabaab absorbs southern Islamist group, splits Hizbul Islam.” The Long War Journal, 1 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[iii] Roggio, Bill. “The Battle of Ras Kamboni.” The Long War Journal, 8 Jan. 2007. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{“US launches new Somalia raids.” The Guardian, 9 Jan. 2007. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Goldsmith, Paul. “Somalia: Taliban Now Coming to a Guerrilla War Theatre Near You.” The East African, 22 June 2009. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[iv] Harnisch, Christopher. “The Terror Threat from Somalia: The Internationalization of Al Shabaab.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 12 Feb. 2010. Web. 20 Aug 2015.

[v] Roggio, Bill. “Shabaab absorbs southern Islamist group, splits Hizbul Islam.” The Long War Journal, 1 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Horadam, Nathaniel. “Somalia’s Second Islamist Threat: A Backgrounder on Hizb al Islam.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 8 Oct. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Roggio, Bill. “Hizbul Islam joins Shabaab in Somalia.” The Long War Journal, 19 Dec. 2010. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[vi] Roggio, Bill. “Shabaab absorbs southern Islamist group, splits Hizbul Islam.” The Long War Journal, 1 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Gisesa, Nyambega. “The smiling warlord who controls Ras Kamboni.” Hiiraan Online, 12 June 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{United Nations Security Council. “Letter dated 10 March 2010 from the Chairman of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the President of the Security Council.” 10 Mar. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[vii] “Islamist Ally Turns on Somalia's al-Shabab.” Voice of America, 24 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[viii] American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.}} {{Bloom, Rebecca, and Eben Kaplan. “Backgrounder: Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 Nov. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ix] Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{“Still dangerous.” The Economist, 27 June 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[x] McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[xi] American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.}} {{Bloom, Rebecca, and Eben Kaplan. “Backgrounder: Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 Nov. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[xii] Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[xiii] Gisesa, Nyambega. “The smiling warlord who controls Ras Kamboni.” Hiiraan Online, 12 June 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[xiv] “Somalia: Jubaland Reconciliation Conference Concluded With Peace Deal.” Garowe Online, 6 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[xv] Sheikh, Abdi. “Somali warlord agrees to talks, boosts government peace efforts.” Reuters, 31 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[xvi] Hassan, Abdiqani. “Somali region re-elects former warlord to fight al Shabaab.” Reuters, 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

 

Organizational Structure

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Ahmed Mohamed Islam (2010 to Present)

Leadership

This section describes various leaders, their deputies, and other important officials in the militant organization.

Ahmed Mohamed Islam (2010 to Present)

Madobe, as Ahmed Mohamed Islam is more commonly known, briefly served as governor of the strategically important port city of Kismayo in 2006. He has also served in other elected offices. During the late 2000s, Madobe led a faction within the Ras Kamboni Brigade. After the Ras Kamboni Brigade joined Al Shabaab in 2010, Madobe’s faction defected to form the Ras Kamboni Movement. Madobe and his group have worked with government forces against Al Shabaab. In 2013, Madobe was elected president of Somalia’s Jubaland region. He was reelected in 2015 and has promised to continue reconciliation talks with the Somali government and various clans in order to end militia violence.[i] In August 2019, he will face re-election again.[ii]


[i] Jorgic, Drazen. “Former Islamist warlord elected president of Somali region.” Reuters, 15 May 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Gisesa, Nyambega. “The smiling warlord who controls Ras Kamboni.” Hiiraan Online, 12 June 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{McCormick, Ty. “Exclusive: U.S. Operates Drones From Secret Bases in Somalia.” 2 July 2015. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Hassan, Abdiqani. “Somali region re-elects former warlord to fight al Shabaab.” Reuters, 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ii] “Jubaland’s Ahmed Madobe holds a secret meeting with Garissa leaders.” Goobjoog News. 18 Dec. 2018. Web. 23 Feb. 2019. <https://goobjoog.com/english/jubalands-ahmed-madobe-holds-a-secret-meeti....

 

    Name Changes
  • Name Changes
  • Size Estimates
  • Resources
  • Geographic Locations

Name Changes

There are no recorded name changes for this group. However, the names of the Ras Kamboni Movement and its predecessor, the Ras Kamboni Brigade, are sometimes mistakenly interchanged.

 

Size Estimates

There is little available information about the Ras Kamboni Movement’s size. The group’s predecessor, the Ras Kamboni Brigade, contained between 500 and 1,000 fighters in February 2010, around the time that the Ras Kamboni Movement broke away from that group.[i]


[i] Roggio, Bill. “Shabaab absorbs southern Islamist group, splits Hizbul Islam.” The Long War Journal, 1 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

 

Resources

The Ras Kamboni Movement’s resources mainly come from the group’s control over the city of Kismayo, an advantageously located port and economic center. Historically, Kismayo has depended on a lucrative charcoal trade, which was estimated to generate tens of millions of dollars annually. The Ras Kamboni Movement has benefited from that trade since taking control of Kismayo from Al Shabaab in late 2012, despite the fact that earlier that year, the United Nations had instituted an embargo on the sale and export of charcoal from Somalia in order to weaken Al Shabaab. The ban, although still in effect, has been considered largely ineffective in halting revenue flows, and the Ras Kamboni Movement has continued to export charcoal.[i] As of 2018, Madobe has allegedly continued to permit the illegal charcoal trade despite serving as head of Jubaland’s government.[ii] Besides charcoal and port revenues, the Ras Kamboni Movement has allegedly conducted robberies throughout Kismayo and has conducted at least one kidnapping for ransom to garner additional resources.[iii]


[i] McConnell, Tristan. “Saving Somalia: A matter of charcoal and UN bureaucracy.” Hiiraan Online, 29 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{“A charred harvest.” The Economist, 9 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Anderson, David M., and Jacob McKnight. “Kenya at War: Al-Shabaab and Its Enemies in Eastern Africa.” African Affairs, 19 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ii] “Jubbaland President Resumes Illicit Charcoal Exports Despite UN Ban.” Shabelle Media Network. 8 March 2018. Web. 23 February 2019. <http://radioshabelle.com/jubbaland-president-resumes-illicit-charcoal-ex....

[iii] McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

 

Geographic Locations

Disclaimer: This is a partial list of where the militant organization has bases and where it operates. This does not include information on where the group conducts major attacks or has external influences.

The Ras Kamboni Movement is based primarily in Jubaland, an autonomous region in the south of Somalia. Jubaland’s largest city is Kismayo, a strategically important port controlled by the Ras Kamboni Movement; however, other militias have continued to fight for control of the city.[i]


[i] “Somalia: Regional Rivalries and the Fight for Kismayo.” Stratfor, 28 June 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Beerdhige, Mohamed. “Who is Fighting in Southern Somalia?” SomaliaReport, 20 Nov. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

 

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

    Ideology and Goals
  • Ideology and Goals
  • Political Activities
  • Targets and Tactics

Ideology and Goals

  • Islamist

There is little available information about the Ras Kamboni Movement’s ideology. The group has been described as Islamist. A defining feature of the group has been its opposition to Al Shabaab, which the Ras Kamboni Movement has asserted is Somalia’s greatest problem. Abdullahi Mohamud Mohamed, a spokesperson for the Ras Kamboni Movement, has claimed that the group’s principal goal is to expel Al Shabaab from southern Somalia. The Ras Kamboni Movement’s secondary goal, according to Mohamed, is to control the port city of Kismayo as well as to “establish a semi-autonomous state” in the region.[i] Accordingly, the Ras Kamboni Movement’s activities have centered on gaining and maintaining control of Kismayo, over which it has held de facto control since 2012. The group has continuously fought the Somali government as well as other militias for control of the city.[ii]


[i] Mohamed, Hani. “ASWJ and Ras Kamboni Militias Eye Kismayo.” SomaliaReport, 25 July 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ii] McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{“Islamist Ally Turns on Somalia's al-Shabab.” Voice of America, 24 Feb. 2010. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{“Still dangerous.” The Economist, 27 June 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

 

Political Activities

The Ras Kamboni Movement has engaged in some political activity, principally in the city of Kismayo. Madobe, the group’s leader, has claimed that the Ras Kamboni Movement is not merely a militia but also a political party.[i] In November 2012, the Ras Kamboni Movement organized protests in Kismayo against certain policies of Somalia’s new federal government; for example, the group claimed that its region’s economic growth was harmed by the government’s refusal to allow charcoal exports.[ii]

In early 2013, various clans—including Ras Kamboni Movement members—met in order to negotiate a power-sharing arrangement for the Jubaland region, an area in southern Somalia that includes Kismayo. The lengthy negotiation process is sometimes referred to as the Jubaland Convention. Madobe was initially elected president of Jubaland, but a major rival warlord named Barre Hirale—who was allegedly backed by the Somali government—also declared himself president. Clan representatives continued to meet throughout 2013 with the goal of agreeing upon and creating a Jubaland government.[iii] The Somali federal government, which was originally barred from attending or participating in the Jubaland Convention, unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate with individual Jubaland Convention participants. In March, for example, Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon met with Madobe in Kismayo, but the negotiations were unproductive and soon broke down.[iv] Finally, in August 2013, the Ras Kamboni Movement and the Somali federal government concluded an agreement that formally called for a Jubaland interim government and allowed the Somali federal government nominal control of Kismayo. However, the Ras Kamboni Movement largely continued to maintain de facto control of the city.[v] In November 2013, Jubaland Convention participants convened in Mogadishu and concluded an agreement that formally recognized Madobe as Jubaland’s leader.[vi]

The Ras Kamboni Movement has also participated in peace talks regarding the violence caused by warring militias in Kismayo. In 2014, Barre Hirale’s militia agreed to negotiations with the Ras Kamboni Movement and other militant groups in order to end violence in the city. The African Union and the Somali government have been heavily involved in brokering these negotiations.[vii]

In 2015, Madobe was reelected as president of Jubaland, and he has promised to continue reconciliation talks that involve the Somali government and various clans.[viii] As of 2019, there is no public evidence attesting to whether these discussions did in fact occur. Madobe is currently running for another term in office with elections scheduled for August 2019.[ix]


[i] Gisesa, Nyambega. “The smiling warlord who controls Ras Kamboni.” Hiiraan Online, 12 June 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[ii] McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[iii] Jorgic, Drazen. “Former Islamist warlord elected president of Somali region.” Reuters, 15 May 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[iv] Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{“Somalia: Jubaland State Conference Convenes, Mogadishu Officials Absent.” Garowe Online, 28 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[v] “Agreement between the Federal Government of Somalia and Jubba Delegation.” Hiiraan Online. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[vi] “Somalia: Jubaland Reconciliation Conference Concluded With Peace Deal.” Garowe Online, 6 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[vii] Sheikh, Abdi. “Somali warlord agrees to talks, boosts government peace efforts.” Reuters, 31 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[viii] Hassan, Abdiqani. “Somali region re-elects former warlord to fight al Shabaab.” Reuters, 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ix] “Jubaland’s Ahmed Madobe holds a secret meeting with Garissa leaders.” Goobjoog News. 18 Dec. 2018. Web. 23 Feb. 2019. <https://goobjoog.com/english/jubalands-ahmed-madobe-holds-a-secret-meeti....

 

Targets and Tactics

The Ras Kamboni Movement’s principal targets appear to be other militant organizations, especially Al Shabaab, which the Ras Kamboni Movement has vowed to expel from southern Somalia. The group has fought Al Shabaab for control of various areas in southern Somalia, including the town of Ras Kamboni and the port city of Kismayo. The group has often worked with Somali or Kenyan government troops against Al Shabaab and other militant organizations. However, the Ras Kamboni Movement has also fought against government forces for control of various areas, especially while consolidating control of Kismayo.[i]

The Ras Kamboni Movement has been accused of conducting constant robberies and other violent acts throughout Kismayo, its main stronghold, and it once apprehended hundreds of city residents in an attempt to find fighters from Al Shabaab and other militias.[ii]

Ras Kamboni Movement fighters have conducted at least one kidnapping for ransom.[iii]


[i] Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Mohamed, Hani. “ASWJ and Ras Kamboni Militias Eye Kismayo.” SomaliaReport, 25 July 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.}} {{Bloom, Rebecca, and Eben Kaplan. “Backgrounder: Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 Nov. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ii] McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[iii] Fricker, Martin. “The $1million dollar drop: British hostage Judith Tebbutt freed after ransom is airdropped to Somali pirates.” Mirror, 22 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}}} {{Cochrane, Kira. “Judith Tebutt: my six months as a hostage of Somali kidnappers.” The Guardian, 9 July 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Bloxham, Andy, and Mike Pflanz. “Kenya kidnap victim being held on Somali island.” The Telegraph, 15 Sep. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

 

Major Attacks

First Attacks, Largest Attacks, Notable Attacks
atlantic terrorism lead large

Major Attacks

Disclaimer: These are some selected major attacks in the militant organization's history. It is not a comprehensive listing but captures some of the most famous attacks or turning points during the campaign.

  1. September 11, 2011: Gunmen attacked David and Judith Tebbutt, a British couple staying at a resort on the Kenyan island of Kiwayu, about 25 miles from the border with Somalia. The gunmen killed David and kept Judith hostage for six months, demanding ransom. The ransom was raised and paid by Judith’s son, Oliver, and Judith was released in March 2012. The Ras Kamboni Movement claimed responsibility for the attack. (1 killed, 0 wounded).[i]
  2. October 20, 2011: Assisted by Kenyan forces, the Ras Kamboni Movement captured the town of Ras Kamboni in southern Somalia, driving Al Shabaab from the area. (unknown killed, unknown wounded).[ii]
  3. November 11, 2011: The Ras Kamboni Movement, in cooperation with the Somali National Army, launched an attack on an Al Shabaab base near the city of Afmadow in southern Somalia. (7 killed, unknown wounded).[iii]
  4. February 2, 2012: The Ras Kamboni Movement, in cooperation with Kenyan forces, captured an Al Shabaab base in the town of Badhadhe in southern Somalia. (unknown killed, unknown wounded).[iv]
  5. March 8, 2012: Kenyan, Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and Ras Kamboni Movement forces battled Al Shabaab in the village of Hayo in southern Somalia. (5 killed, 1 injured).[v]
  6. September 2012: The Ras Kamboni Movement allegedly worked with a coalition of African Union, Kenyan, and Somali government troops to drive Al Shabaab out of the city of Kismayo. However, some Somali officials denied this cooperation. (unknown killed, unknown injured).[vi]
  7. November 21, 2012: After a grenade was thrown at Madobe’s home in Kismayo, Ras Kamboni Movement militants conducted shooting attacks throughout the city while allegedly seeking the perpetrator. (unknown killed, unknown wounded).[vii]


[i] Fricker, Martin. “The $1million dollar drop: British hostage Judith Tebbutt freed after ransom is airdropped to Somali pirates.” Mirror, 22 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Cochrane, Kira. “Judith Tebutt: my six months as a hostage of Somali kidnappers.” The Guardian, 9 July 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Bloxham, Andy, and Mike Pflanz. “Kenya kidnap victim being held on Somali island.” The Telegraph, 15 Sep. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ii] Gettleman, Jeffrey, and Josh Kron. “Kenya Reportedly Didn’t Warn U.S. of Somalia Incursion.” The New York Times, 20 Oct. 2011.}} {{Zimmerman, Katherine, and Kennan Khatib. “Timeline: Operation Linda Nchi.” AEI Critical Threats Project, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[iii] Zimmerman, Katherine, and Kennan Khatib. “Timeline: Operation Linda Nchi.” AEI Critical Threats Project, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[iv] Zimmerman, Katherine, and Kennan Khatib. “Timeline: Operation Linda Nchi.” AEI Critical Threats Project, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[v] Zimmerman, Katherine, and Kennan Khatib. “Timeline: Operation Linda Nchi.” AEI Critical Threats Project, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[vi] American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.}} {{Bloom, Rebecca, and Eben Kaplan. “Backgrounder: Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 Nov. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[vii] McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

 

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

    Designated/Listed
  • Designated/Listed
  • Community Relations
  • Relationships with Other Groups
  • State Sponsors and External Influences

Designated/Listed

The Ras Kamboni Brigade is not designated as a terrorist organization by the United States or the European Union.

Community Relations

Since 2012, the Ras Kamboni Movement has mostly controlled the major port city of Kismayo. The group has conducted street patrols and set up security checkpoints throughout the city.[i] Additionally, the group has been accused of conducting constant robberies and other violent acts throughout Kismayo, and it once apprehended hundreds of city residents in an attempt to find fighters from Al Shabaab and other militias.[ii] In anticipation of upcoming August 2019 elections, Ahmed Adobe, leader of the Ras Kamboni Movement and president of Somalia’s Jubaland state secured the support of several local elders in Garissa County. They were reportedly grateful for the Ras Kamboni Movement’s role in expelling Al Shabaab from the city of Kismayo in 2012.[iii]

Most of the Ras Kamboni Movement’s fighters have been from the Ogaden clan, the largest clan in southern Somalia.[iv]


[i] American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.}} {{Bloom, Rebecca, and Eben Kaplan. “Backgrounder: Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 Nov. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Momanyi, Bernard. “Pictures: KDF in control of Kismayu.” CapitalNews, 4 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ii] McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[iii] “Jubaland elections: Garissa elders endorse Ahmed Madobe.” Caasimada. 10 Feb. 2019. Web. 23 Feb. 2019. <https://www.caasimada.net/jubaland-elections-garissa-elders-endorse-ahme....

[iv] Momanyi, Bernard. “Pictures: KDF in control of Kismayu.” CapitalNews, 4 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Gisesa, Nyambega. “The smiling warlord who controls Ras Kamboni.” Hiiraan Online, 12 June 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

 

Relationships with Other Groups

Since the Ras Kamboni Movement’s beginnings, it has had a rivalry with Al Shabaab. Madobe originally broke away from the Ras Kamboni Brigade in order to form the Ras Kamboni Movement when elements of the former joined Al Shabaab. The Ras Kamboni Movement has asserted that Al Shabaab is Somalia’s greatest problem. Abdullahi Mohamud Mohamed, a spokesperson for the Ras Kamboni Movement, has claimed that the group’s principal goal is to expel Al Shabaab from southern Somalia.[i] The Ras Kamboni Movement has fought Al Shabaab for control of various areas, especially the city of Kismayo, and has worked with government forces to launch attacks against the group. In October 2011, for example, the Ras Kamboni Movement captured the town of Ras Kamboni from Al Shabaab and forced the group from the area with assistance from Kenyan troops. The following month, again with assistance from Kenya, Ras Kamboni Movement fighters seized weapons and supplies from Al Shabaab bases in Tabta and Afmadow.[ii] In 2012, the Ras Kamboni Movement—together with the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), Kenyan, and Somali government troops—forced Al Shabaab from Kismayo. The Ras Kamboni Movement has continued to battle remaining Al Shabaab fighters in the city.[iii]

In attempts to strengthen control of its territories, the Ras Kamboni Movement has also allied with or fought against other militant groups in southern Somalia. In February 2013, for example, while consolidating control of Kismayo, the Ras Kamboni Movement allegedly allied with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)—a Somali nationalist separatist group—and fought against Somali government forces.[iv] Also in 2013, various clans—including Ras Kamboni Movement members—met in order to negotiate a power-sharing arrangement for the Jubaland region, an area in southern Somalia that includes Kismayo. The lengthy negotiation process is sometimes referred to as the Jubaland Convention. Madobe was initially elected president of Jubaland, but a major rival warlord named Barre Hirale—who was allegedly backed by the Somali government—also declared himself president. Barre Hirale’s militia, like many of the militias fighting the Ras Kamboni Movement, was a clan militia and has been a principal opponent of the Ras Kamboni Movement in Kismayo.[v]

In 2014, Barre Hirale’s militia agreed to talks with the Ras Kamboni Movement and other warring militias in order to end violence in Kismayo.[vi] In 2015, Madobe was reelected as president of Jubaland, and he has promised to continue reconciliation talks that involve the Somali government and various clans.[vii] As of 2019, there is no public evidence attesting to any efforts by Madobe to fulfill this promise.

Madobe’s relationship with the national government in Mogadishu has only deteriorated since 2015. Following increased tensions between Somalia’s states and the federal government, the provincial presidents, including Madobe, decided in 2018 to suspend cooperation with Mogadishu.[viii] Consequently, the Somali federal government is reportedly attempting to thwart Madobe’s re-election.[ix]


[i] Mohamed, Hani. “ASWJ and Ras Kamboni Militias Eye Kismayo.” SomaliaReport, 25 July 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ii] “Somalia: Ras Kamboni Movement Claims Victory Over a Battle in Southern Region.” Shabelle Media Network, 25 Nov. 2011. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[iii] Roble, Muhyadin Ahmed. “Can Somalia’s al-Shabaab Survive the Loss of Kismayo?”. Terrorism Monitor 10.19, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Gettleman, Jeffrey, and Josh Kron. “Kenya Reportedly Didn’t Warn U.S. of Somalia Incursion.” The New York Times, 20 Oct. 2011.}}  {{Zimmerman, Katherine, and Kennan Khatib. “Timeline: Operation Linda Nchi.” AEI Critical Threats Project, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[iv] American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.}} {{Bloom, Rebecca, and Eben Kaplan. “Backgrounder: Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 Nov. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[v] “Somalia: Jubaland Reconciliation Conference Concluded With Peace Deal.” Garowe Online, 6 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Jorgic, Drazen. “Former Islamist warlord elected president of Somali region.” Reuters, 15 May 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.}} {{Bass, Breuk, and Katherine Zimmerman. “Challenges to America’s Counterterrorism Strategy in Somalia.” Critical Threats Project, American Enterprise Institute, 10 June 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

[vi] Sheikh, Abdi. “Somali warlord agrees to talks, boosts government peace efforts.” Reuters, 31 Aug. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[vii] Hassan, Abdiqani. “Somali region re-elects former warlord to fight al Shabaab.” Reuters, 15 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[viii] Hassan, Mohamed Olad. “Somali Regional States Suspend Ties With Federal Government.” Voice of America. 8 Sept. 2018. Web. 4 March 2019. <https://www.voanews.com/a/somali-regional-states-suspend-ties-with-feder....

[ix] “Somalia: Fresh talks to mediate Jubbaland and Central Govt held in Kenya.” Garowe Online. 16 Feb. 2019. Web. 4 March 2019. <https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/somalia-fresh-talks-to-medi....

 

State Sponsors and External Influences

The Ras Kamboni Movement, unlike its predecessor, has cooperated with various governments, especially against Al Shabaab. In 2012, the Ras Kamboni Movement allegedly worked with a coalition of African Union, Kenyan, and Somali government troops to drive Al Shabaab out of the city of Kismayo, although some Somali officials denied this cooperation.[i]

The Ras Kamboni Movement’s main source of outside support has been the Kenyan government, which has often partnered with the group for economic or military purposes. Kenyan troops have allegedly helped the Ras Kamboni Movement continue to export charcoal from Kismayo in spite of a UN ban on the charcoal trade. Kenya has also allegedly provided support for Madobe and for the goal of an autonomous state in Jubaland, and it was a key partner of the Ras Kamboni Movement in expelling Al Shabaab from Kismayo. The Kenyan government’s support for the Ras Kamboni Movement reportedly stems from Kenya’s desire to eradicate Al Shabaab and to establish a strong government in Jubaland so as to minimize security threats in the region. Kenya’s support for the Ras Kamboni Movement has sometimes negatively affected the Kenyan government’s relationship with the Somali government.[ii]


[i] American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.}} {{Bloom, Rebecca, and Eben Kaplan. “Backgrounder: Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).” Council on Foreign Relations, 1 Nov. 2007. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

[ii] American Foreign Policy Council. The World Almanac of Islamism: 2014. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.}} {{McGregor, Andrew. “Briefs.” Terrorism Monitor 10.23, 14 Dec. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{Kron, Josh. “Report Ties Kenyan Army to Militants’ Smuggling.” The New York Times, 12 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{“Hassan Sheikh Mohamud sounds out Kenyatta.” The Indian Ocean Newsletter, 6 June 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.}} {{ISS Africa. “A new solution that brings new problems for Somalia's Jubaland - ISS.” defenceWeb, 15 July 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

 

Maps

The project develops a series of interactive diagrams that “map” relationships among groups and show how those relationships change over time. The user can change map settings to display different features (e.g., leadership changes), adjust the time scale, and trace individual groups.

Evolving Militant Interactions

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