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Robow was born in 1969 in the Berdaale district of the Bay region in southern Somalia. He studied at a local Qur'anic school, and later continued his religious education in the mosques of Mogadishu as well as those of his home region. A member of the Rahanweyn clan (which is particularly well represented in the Baidoa area), and more specifically of the Leysan sub-clan, Robow also studied Islamic law in the 1990s at the University of Khartoum in Sudan.
Islamic Courts Union and Al-Shabaab
He subsequently returned to Mogadishu and worked for the Saudi Al-Haramain Foundation, which was later accused by the United States of having links with Islamic terrorists. Robow then taught Islamic education to orphans the foundation was looking after. His Arabic nickname "Abu Mansur" reinforces the theory that he has frequented Middle East radical Islamists.
Robow later served as the Deputy Commander of the Islamic Courts Union, which controlled much of the south of Somalia. A hardline and radical Islamist who fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan in the early 2000s, Robow was blacklisted by the United States as a terrorist leader.
Robow appeared in videos with deceased American terrorist Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki.
Robow and other leading Al-Shabaab members challenged the leadership of Ahmed Abdi Godane (Moktar Ali Zubeyr) at Barawe in June 2013. Godane killed two of the leading members, and Robow fled to his home district. Godane's forces launched an offensive against Robow's supporters, it was reported in August 2013.
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