Militiamen from the Somali Islamist Shebab group launched an attack Sunday morning against a military base operated by American and Kenyan forces in Lamu (northern Kenya), near the Somali border.
This attack on the base known as Camp Simba in Manda Bay, near the scenic and scenic Lamu Island, is the latest shebab in Kenya since Nairobi sent troops to Somalia in 2011 fight the group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Paul Njuguna said in a statement that « there was an attempt at 5.30 am to break security on Manda airfield. »
“The breach attempt was successfully postponed. So far, the bodies of four terrorists have been found. The airstrip was not affected. After this unsuccessful attempt (led by the shebab), a fire broke out affecting fuel tanks located on the airstrip. «
The spokesman added that the fire had been brought under control « and that standard safety procedures are being followed. »
A local Kenyan official, Irungu Macharia, also confirmed the dawn attack, saying that « it was repelled », but did not say if there were any victims.
In a brief statement, the United States Military Command for Africa (AFRICOM) confirmed the attack « at Manda Bay airfield », stating « to monitor the situation » without giving further details.
An internal police report seen by the AFP indicates that two planes, two American helicopters and « several American vehicles » were destroyed on the airstrip.
Local police chief Irungu Macharia said five people had been arrested near the camp and were being interrogated.
The Lamu region, located near the Somali border, is affected by shebab-led operations, with frequent attacks along the border targeting in particular the security forces with roadside bombs.
The shebab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying they had « successfully taken over the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of part of the base. »
The group said there were Kenyan and American casualties, but the claims could not be confirmed immediately.
The group added that the attack was part of its campaign « Al-Quds (Jerusalem) will never be Judaized » – a term it used for the first time in an attack on the hotel complex high-end Dusit in Nairobi in January 2019, which left 21 dead.