US says Al-Shabaab grossly exaggerated attacks against American troops
WASHINGTON - The Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants are a threat specializing in lies, fiction and propaganda, the US military has said, adding that "they have no credibility".
For over a decade now, the Al-Shabaab terror group has caused confusion and havoc in East Africa, seeking to overthrow fragile UN-backed Somalia government.
In 2010, the group swore allegiance to Al-Qaida, a group that has engineered several deadly attacks around the globe, including twin attacks in the US.
The group thrives on mafia-style taxation tactics to sustain her attacks within and outside Somalia, a report by UN Panel of Experts said in November 2019.
Al-Shabaab lied on casualties
But US Africa Command now accuses the group of spreading lies and propaganda as part of their conspiracy theories to deceive the public.
"Al-Shabaab is a threat specializing in lies. We believe in truth and trust. 17 U.S. troops NOT killed in Kenya. They claimed killing Americans in Somalia 9/30. ZERO killed," AFRICOM said.
The militants raided Camp Simba in Lamu on Sunday, causing massive destruction including dismembering six aircraft, US confirmed.
During the daring attack, three US citizens among them a small died with two others sustaining serious injuries, AFRICOM said.
But in return, US troops and elite forces from KDF managed to kill five militants, recovering sophisticated weapons in the process, authorities said.
According to AFRICOM, "All terrorists killed by partner U.S. forces, or blew themselves up. This hole they made for themselves."
Military arsenals destroyed
In a statement, Al-Shabaab had termed the attack successful, adding that at least 17 American troops were killed and nine KDF soldiers.
The attack, Al-Shabaab said, led to the destruction of at least seven aircraft and several vehicles belonging to the United States.
While noting the "victory" during the Camp Simba raid, Al-Shabaab also said "AFRICOM should be truthful. Their statement is misleading".
The group lauded the special troops of its commandos for "attacking the enemies who have occupied Muslim lands illegally".
Ballidogle military base attack
But AFRICOM insists the Al-Shabaab militants have been grossly exaggerating a series of attacks against forces in East Africa.
For instance, AFRICOM added, the militants lied about the casualties in Ballidogle military base attack on Sept 30th, 2019.
The US military said that "to be clear, all terrorists conducting a raid at Baledogle, Somalia, Sept. 30, were killed."
Ballidogle attack left eleven militants dead after a fierce gunfight which involved the militants and Somalia's Danab forces, state media reported.
Top military generals visit Kenya
More troops have since been deployed to Camp Simba, a strategic military base that hosts about 100 US elite forces, AFRICOM said.
On Thursday AFRICOM Commander General Stephen Townsend said military generals from his team also visited the troops "to assess the situation and the truth".
Drawn from East Africa Response Forces, the troops arrived at Manda Bay as a back up to the elite troops at the base, Townsend added.
Al-Shabaab militants disconnected power within the base and its environs before waging the daring attack, locals claimed.
Confusion on casualties in Kenya
Early this week, Kenya denied casualties on her side, arguing that all troops that took part in the operation can be accounted for.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang'i said: "Al-Shabaab thrives on imagination to portray our team as weak and defenseless".
But despite the denials, it has since been established that one civilian, who worked as a casual laborer, was gunned down by the militants.
Kenya is a strategic partner of the United States in both the fight against Al-Shabaab and geopolitical interests within East Africa.