Al-Shabaab Attacks Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya Used by U.S. Forces

Islamist terrorist organization, Al-Shabaab has attacked the Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya’s Lamu County, used by U.S. and Kenyan forces, on Jan 5.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) said in a statement that “an attempt was made to breach security at Manda Air Strip at around 5:30 am”.

The attempted breach was successfully repulsed. Four terrorists’ bodies have so far been found. The airstrip is safe,” the statement added.

Al-Shabab said in a statement the raid resulted in “severe casualties on both American and Kenyan troops”. The attack was also acknowledged by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) but called the Al-Shabab press releases “exaggeration”.

UPDATE:

According to a new statement from AFRICOM, one U.S. service member and two Department of Defense contractors were killed during the attack. In addition, two Department of Defense members were wounded. The wounded Americans are currently in stable condition and being evacuated.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our teammates who lost their lives today,” said U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command. “As we honor their sacrifice, let’s also harden our resolve. Alongside our African and international partners, we will pursue those responsible for this attack and al-Shabaab who seeks to harm Americans and U.S. interests. We remain committed to preventing al-Shabaab from maintaining a safe haven to plan deadly attacks against the U.S. homeland, East African, and international partners.”

The attack on the compound involved indirect and small arms fire. After an initial penetration of the perimeter, Kenya Defense Forces and U.S. Africa Command repelled the al-Shabaab attack.

Reports also indicate that six contractor-operated civilian aircraft were damaged to some degree. The damaged aircraft included a secretive U.S. military de Havilland Dash-8 twin-engine turboprop configured for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The aircraft known as SOCOM Tactical Airborne Multi-Sensor Platforms (STAMP) is U.S.-government owned, but contractor-operated and is associated with the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

Manda Bay Airfield is utilized by U.S. forces whose missions include providing training to African partners, responding to crises, and protecting U.S. interests in this strategically important area.

UPDATE #2:

U.S. Africa Command’s East Africa Response Force (EARF) arrived at Manda Bay, Kenya, Jan. 5, to augment security to secure the airfield after an attack by al-Shabaab terrorists.

“The EARF provides a critical combat-ready, rapid deployment force,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. “The EARF’s ability to respond to events spanning a vast area of responsibility provides a proven and invaluable on-call reinforcement capability in times of need.”

The EARF, under the command and control of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, responds to a broad range of military operations including the protection of U.S. citizens and diplomatic facilities, support for non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations, and other missions as directed.



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