Suspected Al-Shabab Attack Against US Naval Base in Manda Bay, Kenya; 3 Killed, 2 Injured Serving the US and Significant Property Damage
January 05: Suspected al-Shabab militants (affiliated with al-Qaeda) reportedly attacked a U.S. naval base known as Camp Simba in Manda Bay, located in Lamu County. Unverified reports indicate that U.S. and Kenyan military personnel exchanged heavy gunfire with militants during the attack, which allegedly lasted approximately four hours.
Al-Shabab — a Somali Islamist group — immediately claimed responsibility for the incident and also alleged to have taken control of part of the base. Although a U.S. Africa Command spokesman confirmed that the attack occurred, there were no indications that al-Shabab militants took control of any section of the base. Military officials later confirmed that one U.S. military service member and two U.S. contractors were killed during the attack, while two U.S. Department of Defense employees were injured. Meanwhile, at least four al-Shabab militants were killed, while police officers arrested five suspects in connection to the attack.
Citing a report from Kenyan police, the AP reported that two small planes, two U.S. helicopters and multiple U.S. vehicles had been destroyed in the attack. AFRICOM released a later statement saying that “six contractor-operated civilian aircraft were damaged to some degree.
As a result of the attack, local authorities temporarily closed Manda Airport (HKLU/LAU) — also called Lamu Airport — for an undetermined period of time. The closure will affect several Fly540 and Skyward Express airlines’ flights. Additionally, the airstrip at the facility, which is adjacent to Camp Simba, has been closed until further notice.
The site of the attack, Manda Bay Airfield, is used by U.S. forces to provide training and counterterrorism support to partners in East Africa, as well as to protect U.S. interests in the area.
Source: GlobalSecur & NPR
Since the attack Sunday morning, Kenya has beefed up security in and around Lamu county, which borders Somalia. Witnesses say people are moving out of villages near the Manda Bay airfield, for fear of further attacks or getting caught in clashes between security forces and al-Shabab fighters hiding in the nearby Boni forest. (Mohammed Yusuf / Voa News)