On Sunday, Somalia’s al Shabaab militant group attacked a military base in Kenya used by both U.S. and Kenyan forces and published pictures of masked gunmen standing next to an aircraft in flames.
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed an attack on the Manda Bay Airfield in Lamu county, close to the Somali border. The Kenyan military said the attack was repelled and that four militants had been killed. There were no immediate reports of Kenyan or US casualties.
“Seven aircraft and three military vehicles were destroyed in the attack,” al Shabaab said in a statement in which it claimed responsibility for the assault.
Major Karl Wiest from AFRICOM told Reuters less than 150 U.S. personnel were at the base, where they provide training and counter-terrorism support to East African partners.
“Initial reports reflect damage to infrastructure and equipment. An accountability of personnel assessment is underway,” AFRICOM said in a press release.
Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Paul Njuguna said the base was now secure.
“This morning at around 5:30 am an attempt was made to breach security at Manda Air Strip. The attempted breach was successfully repulsed,” he said.
“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.”
At least four militants were killed, Njuguna said.