Members of the Al-Shabaab terror group, which is linked to al Qaeda, have attacked a U.S. military base in Kenya on Sunday.
The attack against the Manda Air Strip at Camp Simba, which houses both Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) members and U.S. military personnel, resulted in confirmed damage to at least two aircraft, two US helicopters and multiple vehicles, according to the Associated Press.
It is not clear if any U.S. or Kenyan forces were killed, despite assertions by the terror group that it killed nine Kenyan soldiers. Al-Shabaab militants also claimed the attack destroyed at least seven aircraft.
BREAKING: Reports from Kenya say Al-Shabaab militants have launched a dawn attack on Kenya military base in Lamu County. A suicide car bomb reportedly breached the entry to Camp Simba, Manda Bay. The explosion sent plume of dark smoke into the sky, photos purportedly show. pic.twitter.com/OxL8H1Qvgs
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) January 5, 2020
Nearby residents claimed a car bomb was used as part of the attack.
According to a press release by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), Al-Shabaab has exaggerated its claims of the attack and said U.S. and Kenyan forces successfully repelled the attack and continue to secure the base in the aftermath of the attack.
“Al-Shabaab resorts to lies, coercion, and the exertion of force to bolster their reputation to create false headlines,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, the director of operations for AFRICOM. “It is important to counter al-Shabaab where they stand to prevent the spread of this cancer.”
According to the statement, the base personnel are still assessing damage to infrastructure and equipment as well as an “accountability of personnel assessment” to determine if there were casualties from the attack.
The Associated Press has reported five suspects were arrested and were being interrogated in connection with the attack.
Al-Shabab has been active in recent weeks, having carried out a car bombing attack Mogadishu, Somalia that killed at least 79 people.
The Sunni-Muslim affiliated Al-Shabaab terror group is reportedly not believed to be connected to the predominantly Shiite Iran. The Sunday attack in Kenya is not believed to be connected to escalatory threats and military actions between the U.S. and Iran, following a U.S. strike that killed one of Iran’s top generals Thursday.
Jay Bahadur, a former member of the U.N. committee monitoring sanctions on Somalia, suggested this latest attack likely comes from the same motives that inspired the group’s attack in Baledogle, Somalia in September.
I suspect that the attack is far more related to AS wanting a do over on their spectacular failure at Baledogle four months ago.
— Jay Bahadur (@PuntlandPirates) January 5, 2020