UK jihadist Thomas Evans believed killed in Kenya
A British jihadist fighting for Somalia’s al-Qaida affiliate, the Shabab, is believed to have been killed in a thwarted attack on a Kenyan army base on Sunday, a Kenyan defense spokesman said.
“All the available data, including photographs, points to it being Thomas Evans. There is an investigation going on with forensics and DNA to confirm his identity,” Kenya Defence Forces spokesman Colonel David Obonyo told AFP on Monday.
If confirmed, Evans’ death will be the first reported case of a British Islamist militant being killed on Kenyan soil.
Evans, in his mid-20s and also known as Abdul Hakim, is a Muslim convert whose family lives in Buckinghamshire in southern England. He reportedly traveled to Somalia in 2011 to join Shabab.
On Sunday a group of militants attacked a Kenyan army base in Baure, close to the border with Somalia. Two Kenyan soldiers were killed and at least 15 Shabab fighters, including two “Caucasians,” according to Kenyan defense officials.
The British embassy in Nairobi said it was “seeking to confirm reports” that a Briton had been killed.
“We are aware of the reports,” a British embassy spokesman said.
Sunday’s attacks saw dozens of Shabab gunmen raid a Kenyan military base and briefly take over a village in Lamu County. Kenyan officials said a major security operation was underway on Monday to pursue the attackers.
The raids came on the anniversary of attacks that began in mid-June 2014 in which close to 100 people were killed in a series of armed assaults on the town of Mpeketoni and surrounding villages.
The attacks in Mpeketoni, close to the once-popular holiday island of Lamu, led to a collapse in tourism on Kenya’s coast after foreign governments warned their nationals against travel to the area.
Under pressure in Somalia where it has for years been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government, Shabab is now increasingly targeting Kenya.