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  • Reports from the Kenyan army say five al Shabaab militants were killed in the attack

    Reports from the Kenyan army say five al Shabaab militants were killed in the attack | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 January 2020

According to Kenyan police, two U.S. helicopters and one Cessna aircraft were destroyed, as well as "multiple" U.S. military vehicles.

The Somali militant group al-Shabaab attacked a military base Sunday at the airfield in the Bay of Manda in Lamu County, near the Somali border, used by both United States and Kenyan forces killing three and injuring two more. 

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Three people, including a U.S. soldier and two civilians including a U.S. private contractor, are among the dead. While two other Department of Defense personnel were wounded in the attack on Camp Simba. Reports from the Kenyan army said five militants were killed in the attack.

According to Kenyan police, two U.S. helicopters and one Cessna aircraft were destroyed, as well as "multiple" U.S. military vehicles. One Kenyan Cessna aircraft was also destroyed.

For its part, the Somali military group Al Shabaab claimed to have destroyed seven aircraft and three military vehicles, without giving any further details. They also published photos of masked armed men standing next to a burning plane.

The United States African Command (Africom) confirmed the attack on the Manda Bay airfield in and said the Al-Shabaab soldiers were repelled by the U.S. and Kenyan forces.

Africom Major Karl Wiest told Reuters that around 150 U.S. personnel were on the base, and  "initial reports reflect damage to infrastructure and equipment as an assessment of staff responsibility is underway."

The assault that began before dawn lasted about four hours, witnesses and military sources told Reuters.

Kenyan military spokesman Coronel Paul Njuguna said the base had been secured and that there was no indication that the militants had managed to enter the base.

"This morning, around 5:30 am, an attempt was made to breach security on the Manda airstrip. The attempted violation was successfully rejected," he said in a statement, adding that "the unsuccessful violation resulted in a fire that affected some of the fuel tanks located on the airstrip, but it has been contained."

Al Shabaab has been fighting for over a decade to overthrow the Somali government and impose strict Sharia law.

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