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United States confirms Al-Shabab attack on U.S. base in Kenya

By East Africa correspondent , Garowe Online
General Stephen T. Townsend, the commander of the US Africa

LAMU, Kenya - The U.S. military has confirmed that there has been an Al-Shabaab attack on a military base in Kenya's Lamu county that houses some American military personnel, Garowe Online reports.

Kenyan Defense Forces said bodies of four bodies of Al-Shabaab members have been found outside Camp Simba, hours after a fierce gunfight between KDF and the militants.

The Al-Shabaab militants raided the base which plays host to elite US Submarine troops and the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), Department of Defense said.

Camp Simba is located at the coastal county of Lamu, which borders Somalia to the Northeast and the Indian Ocean to the East.

U.S. Africa Command acknowledged there was an attack at Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya and is monitoring the situation.

KDF says the attack was repulsed

Importantly, the US and Kenya use the base for sophisticated training of their military especially on the fight against pirates and terrorists.

Col. Paul Njuguna, the KDF spokesman, termed the raid as an "unsuccessful security breach" at Manda Air Strip, where military planes land.

"This morning at around 5:30 am an attempt was made to breach security at Manda Air Strip," said the military spokesperson.

The attempted breach, he said, "was successfully repulsed." Adding that "Four terrorist bodies have so far been found. The airstrip is safe".

Multiple sources confirmed that the militants stormed the base from the Hindi area in the region before opening fire aiming at the camp.

The huge smoke emanating from the base, Col Njuguna added, was caused by the fire from fuel tanks within the military base.

"The fire has been put under control and standard security procedures are now on-going," he said, without elaborating further.

Al-Shabaab disconnected power

Al-Shabaab militants disconnected power within the vicinity, causing power outage within and outside the base, witnesses said.

Hindi areas neighbors the notorious Boni Forest, which has been earmarked as the hotbed of terrorists breeding ground by the government of Kenya.

Since 2016, multi-agency from the KDF and other security forces within Kenya have camped in the region in a bid to destroy militants training bases.

The government has reported numerous positives since then, detonating dozens of explosives and training equipment in the forest.

Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for the attack

In a statement on Sunday, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, adding that several military equipment was destroyed.

Al-Shabaab claimed: "In the early morning on Sunday, an elite group of soldiers from Harakat Al-Shabaab launched a daring dawn raid at a US Naval base known as Camp Simba."

The militants also claimed that both Kenya and the US suffered heavy casualties during the raid, which comes a day after the US killed a top Iranian commander, Gen Qassem Soleimani.

However, Al-Shabaab did not confirm the alleged numbers of soldiers affected during the "successful raid" that targeted Americans.

"Fighters covertly entered the enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now effectively taken control, inflicting casualties on both American and Kenyan troops," read the statement.

No mention of casualties by KDF

Although Col Njuguna confirmed the death of four suspected militants, he largely maintained that the attack was repulsed, hence possibly, no casualties on both the Americans and KDF.

Irungu Macharia, the Lamu County Commissioner, also confirmed the attack at the Naval Base, adding that the attack started at 4 am local time.

He said, "KDF (Kenya Defence Forces) are dealing with the criminals who invaded the camp since 4 am today."

Kenya is a strategic ally of the US in East Africa, and the two nations have carried joint training to strengthen their military especially the Navy and Air Force.

Second attack in 48 hrs in Lamu

On Thursday, the militants attacked three buses near the region within Lamu County, killing three passengers aboard one of the buses.

But in a swift response, the KDF team fired back, killing at least four militants besides injuring dozens who have since been sighted seeking treatment in Lamu.

Kenya has since beefed up security within the US embassy in Nairobi and other related buildings following Iran's revenge threats.

The attempted raid at the US Naval Base comes just two months after a similar attack flopped at the Ballidogle army in Somalia.

In 1998, Al-Qaida waged a deadly attack at the US embassy in Nairobi, killing 214 people. Sudan has since promised to compensate victims.


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