- A witness said the attack sent a dark plume of smoke into the air.
- The Kenyan military spokesman, Colonel Paul Njuguna, said the base had been secured.
- The militant group has continued to conduct deadly bomb and gun attacks, despite being ejected from their bases in Mogadishu.
Security was heightened in Kenya after an attack by al-Shabaab at a military base in Lamu that is usually used by US and Kenyan military personnel. A US military service member and two US contractors were killed in the attack. Two other Department of Defense personnel were injured is Sunday’s attack on Manda Bay Airfield in Lamu County. “The wounded Americans are in stable condition and being evacuated,” African Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement.
A witness said the attack sent a dark plume of smoke into the air. The witness was among the crowds, watching the drama unfold from neighboring Lamu Island, which is a top tourist destination. There are no reports of Kenyan casualties. However, the military said that five terrorists had been killed after a fierce gun battle that lasted four hours. The attackers are said to have destroyed two planes, two US helicopters, and multiple US military vehicles during the attack.
The Kenyan military spokesman, Colonel Paul Njuguna, said the base had been secured. “This morning at around 5:30 AM an attempt was made to breach security at Manda Air Strip. The attempted breach was successfully repulsed,” he said in a statement. “Arising from the unsuccessful breach a fire broke out affecting some of the fuel tanks in the air strip. The fire has been put under control.”
Earlier, in a statement on Sunday, al-Shabaab claimed that it had destroyed seven aircraft and three military vehicles without providing other details. The militant group also published pictures of a masked man standing next to an aircraft in flames. In a statement, al-Shabaab said the attack lead to “severe casualties both American and Kenyan troops stationed there.” The Militant group added that “the Mujahideen fighters covertly entered enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of part of the base.”
Al-Shabaab is linked to Al-Qaeda, and has its headquarters in neighboring Somalia. The militant group has continued to conduct deadly bomb and gun attacks, despite being ejected from their bases in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, and other areas. Al-Shabaab has frequently attacked neighboring Kenya, which has sent thousands of its troops into Somalia to fight al-Shabaab. Last week, the group ambushed a bus in Lamu County and killed three passengers.
This attack comes nearly a year after al-Shabaab launched a deadly suicide attack on the upscale Riverside complex in Nairobi, killing 21 people. The US has stepped up military operations against the militants since Donald Trump became the president in 2017. The US conducted more airstrikes in Somalia in 2019 than in any other year.
On December 28, about 80 people were killed and dozens injured in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, when there was a blast at a busy tax collection center. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility two days later, saying it targeted Turkey, since it was training Somali soldiers.