Al-Shabab attacks joint U.S.-Kenyan base, officials say assault repulsed with four militants killed
Al-Shabab militants launched a predawn attack on a shared U.S. and Kenyan military airstrip located on Kenya's coast near the border with Somalia, the Kenyan army said, adding that the assault was repulsed. Residents and tourists in the Lamu region reported seeing a plume of smoke and hearing ongoing gunfire starting at 3:30 a.m. which continued into the midmorning hours. U.S. military personnel train Kenyan soldiers at a base attached to the airstrip, known as Camp Simba, and the U.S. military uses the airstrip for aerial missions against al-Shabab in Somalia. Capt. Marcie Mascaro, a spokeswoman for U.S. Africa Command, acknowledged there was an attack at Manda Bay Airfield and said they were monitoring the situation. “This morning at around 5:30 a.m. an attempt was made to breach security at Manda Air Strip,” Lt. Col. Paul Njuguna, spokesman of the Kenya Defence Forces, told The Washington Post. “The attempted breach was successfully repulsed. Four terrorist bodies have so far been found. The airstrip is safe. Arising from the unsuccessful breach a fire broke out affecting some of the fuel tanks located at the airstrip. The fire has been put under control and standard security procedures are now ongoing.” A Kenyan police reported cited by the Associated Press also said that two airplanes, one Kenyan and one American, along with two U.S. helicopters and other vehicles, were destroyed in the attack. In its statement on Sunday’s attack, al-Shabab said it had inflicted “severe casualties” on both American and Kenyan forces and confirmed it had destroyed U.S. aircraft and vehicles.