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Al-Shabaab threatens more daring attacks against Kenya and the US

Somalia
By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Kenya and the US should brace for more daring attacks in coming days, Al-Shabaab militants have warned, adding that "we shall target tourists".

In reference to the US Naval Base attack in Lamu on Sunday, the Somalia-based militants said Kenya "will never be safe", calling for more attacks against Washington.

The future attacks, Al-Shabaab now says, will target tourists and US interests within East Africa, a Japanese news agency said.

Al-Shabaab wants troops withdrawn from Somalia

Camp Simba attack in Lamu on Sunday, Al-Shabaab says, should serve as a "warning" and Kenya should immediately withdraw her soldiers from Somalia.

“Withdraw all your forces from our Muslim lands while you still have the chance," the Al-Qaida associates said, adding, "Otherwise brace yourselves for the worst and prepare for perilous times ahead."

Kenya and the US have roughly 3,000 troops stationed in Somalia whose main duty is to protect civilians and the fragile Federal Government of Somalia.

Also, the troops are engaged in fundamental capacity-building processes that have seen thousands of SNA strengthened.

Shabaab warns increased attacks in Kenya

But Al-Shabaab now says "Kenya will never be safe and Kenyans will never sleep soundly at night."

“Tourists and travelers visiting the country are hereby warned that there will no longer be any safe sightseeing or safari trips in Kenya.”

Since deploying her troops to Somalia in 2011, Kenya has been on the receiving end from the militants, suffering casualties in the process.

In retaliation, the group raided KDF bases at Kulbiyow and El Adde, killing at least 250 soldiers. Nairobi is yet to release a report on what transpired in 2016 and 2017.

Also, the group has waged deadly attacks on Kenyan soil with the last daring attack coming in January 2019 at Dusit D2 Hotel raid.

Although many small-scale attacks have been witnessed in recent weeks, Kenyan forces have neutralized them. Several towns have been liberated in Somalia, KDF said.

Camp Simba attack came as a shock

But Camp Simba attack which left three Americans dead caught the country by surprise. Security has since been beefed up, US military confirmed.

The attack left military equipment destroyed, the US military said, adding that "six aircraft were dismembered".

The Camp Simba attack came a week after a car bomb left 81 dead in Mogadishu, and on Wednesday another vehicle packed with explosives left four dead.

Five terrorists were killed during the raid. Several sophisticated weapons were also confiscated, the confirmed while combing the site.

In Sunday's statement, urged jihadis to “make U.S. interests in Kenya their primary target.”

AFRICOM said in April it had killed more than 800 people in 110 strikes in Somalia since April 2017.

Observers say the Islamist group has shown remarkable resilience after more than a decade of efforts to combat it, retaining the capacity to inflict major damage despite losing control of several urban centers.

More soldiers deployed to Kenya

The United States has since deployed East Africa Response Force (EARF) to Manda Bay following the deadly raid on Sunday.

“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.”

Pentagon on Tuesday sent condolences to the families of the victims, confirming that two soldiers were critically injured during the fight.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said, "the cowardly attack was repulsed but we shall ensure perpetrators are all brought to justice".

Security beefed up in Kenya

Kenya has beefed up security in building linked to the United States for fear of possible retaliatory attacks sponsored by Iran.

The US has been at loggerheads with the Islamic nation following the murder of Gen Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps.

However, Tohid Afzali, a top Iranian official in Kenya, said: "Tehran has no interest in attacking civilians, our target is the US military".

Earlier on Tuesday, four people were killed in Dadaab, Northeastern Kenya following an attempted raid at a police station. Two Al-Shabaab militants were killed.

GAROWE ONLINE