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Ras Kamboni (Somali: Raas kambooni) is a town in the Badhaadhe district of Lower Juba region, Somalia, which lies on a peninsula near the border with Kenya. The town is located 274 kilometers south of Kismayo. American officials have said that it has served as a training camp for extremists with connections to Al-Qaeda; al-Sharq al-Awsat reported in May 1999 that al-Qaeda was installing sophisticated communications equipment in the camp.
US security concerns in the Horn of Africa, particularly at Ras Kamboni, heightened after the attacks on 9/11. On December 16, 2001, Paul Wolfowitz said the US was meeting with various Somali and Ethiopian contacts to "observe, survey possible escape routes, possible sanctuaries" for Al Qaeda operatives. On March 2, 2002 a briefing was held in the Pentagon discussing the possible use of Ras Kamboni by Islamic terrorist groups, including al-Ittihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI) and Al Qaeda. In December 2002, the US established the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) to monitor developments in the region and to train local militaries on counterterrorism.
Battle of Ras Kamboni
On January 8, 2007, during the battle, it was reported an AC-130 gunship belonging to the United States military had attacked suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in southern Somalia. It was also reported that the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower had been moved into striking distance. The aircraft flew out of its base in Djibouti. Many bodies were spotted on the ground, but the identity of the dead or wounded was not yet established. The aid organization, Oxfam, reported 100 nomads were killed. The targeted leaders were tracked by the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as they headed south from Mogadishu starting on December 28.
Al-Shabaab took control of Ras Kamboni after the Ethiopian withdrawal. However, on October 20, 2011, Somali Transitional Federal Government forces seized control of the town in what a military spokesman characterised as a bloodless takeover.
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