Militants from Somalia’s al-Shabaab group yesterday attacked a military base used by US and Kenyan forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region, the army spokesman said.Jan 5th · 2 min read
Mon, Jan 06, 2020 - Page 5
Militants from Somalia’s al-Shabaab group yesterday attacked a military base used by US and Kenyan forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region, the army spokesman said.The strike on the base known as Camp Simba in Manda Bay is the latest by the group in Kenya since Nairobi sent troops across the border in 2011.Kenya’s army spokesman Colonel Paul Njuguna said in a statement that at 5:30am “an attempt was made to breach security at Manda Air Strip.”“The attempted breach was successfully repulsed. Four terrorists 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,” he said.The fire had been brought under control “and standard security procedures are now ongoing,” he said.Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia also confirmed there had been an attack and said the militants “have been repulsed.”“We are not sure if there are still remnants within,” he said.Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying it had “successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of part of the base.”The group said there had been both Kenyan and US casualties, but this could not be immediately verified.Al-Shabaab said the attack was part of its “Al-Quds [Jerusalem] shall never be Judaized” campaign — a term it first used during an attack on the upscale Dusit hotel complex in Nairobi in January last year that left 21 people dead.The militants have staged several large-scale attacks inside Kenya, in retaliation for Nairobi sending troops into Somalia as well as to target foreign interests.
Despite years of costly efforts to fight al-Shabaab, the group on Thursday last week detonated a vehicle packed with explosives in Mogadishu, killing 81 people.The Lamu region, close to the Somalian border, has been plagued by attacks from al-Shabaab, with frequent strikes along the frontier notably targeting security forces with roadside bombs.In their report in November, a UN panel of experts on Somalia noted an “unprecedented number” of homemade bombs and other attacks across the Kenya-Somalia border in June and July last year.On Thursday, at least three people were killed when suspected Shabaab militants ambushed a bus traveling in the area.According to the Institute for Security Studies, the US has 34 known military bases in Africa, from where it conducts “drone operations, training, military exercises, direct action and humanitarian activities.”
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