So­ma­lia’s Al Shabaab mil­i­tants at­tack US-Kenya mil­i­tary base

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Nairobi, Kenya - Ter­ror­ists from So­ma­lia’s Al Shabaab group on Sun­day stormed a mil­i­tary base used by US forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu re­gion, de­stroy­ing sev­eral air­craft and mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles, ac­cord­ing to Kenyan po­lice and army of­fi­cials.

At­tack­ers breached heavy se­cu­rity at Camp Simba at dawn but were re­pelled and four ter­ror­ists were killed, said army spokesman Colonel Paul Nju­guna.

Al Shabaab has launched reg­u­lar cross-bor­der raids since Kenya sent troops into So­ma­lia in 2011 as part of an African Union force pro­tect­ing the in­ter­na­tion­ally backed gov­ern­ment - which the ter­ror­ists have been try­ing to over­throw for more than a decade.

The Lamu re­gion, which in­cludes pop­u­lar tourist beach des­ti­na­tion Lamu Is­land, lies close to the So­mali fron­tier and has suf­fered fre­quent at­tacks, of­ten car­ried out with road­side bombs.

Nju­guna said ‘an at­tempt was made to breach se­cu­rity at Manda Air Strip’ at 5:30am but it was re­pulsed.

“Four ter­ror­ists’ bod­ies have so far been found. The airstrip is safe,” he said, adding that a fire had bro­ken out but had since been dealt with.

Kenya’s In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice Hi­lary Mutyam­bai said of­fi­cers were ‘on high alert’ af­ter the at­tack.

An in­ter­nal po­lice re­port said two air­craft, two Amer­i­can he­li­copters and ‘mul­ti­ple Amer­i­can ve­hi­cles’ were de­stroyed at the airstrip. The type of air­craft in­volved was not im­me­di­ately clear.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial Irungu Macharia said five peo­ple had been ar­rested near the camp and were be­ing in­ter­ro­gated.

It was not yet known if there were ca­su­al­ties among Kenyan or Amer­i­can troops.

US mil­i­tary of­fi­cials con­firmed the at­tack and said US and Kenyan forces had re­pelled the Al Shabaab fight­ers.

‘Work­ing along­side our Kenyan part­ners, the air­field is cleared and still in the process of be­ing fully se­cured’, said the US Africa Com­mand (AFRICOM) in a state­ment.

The nearby civil­ian air­port at Manda Bay, which brings tourists vis­it­ing Lamu Is­land - a UNESCO World Her­itage Site - was closed for sev­eral hours af­ter the in­ci­dent, ac­cord­ing to the civil avi­a­tion au­thor­ity.

Al Shabaab said in a state­ment it had ‘suc­cess­fully stormed the heav­ily for­ti­fied mil­i­tary base and have now taken ef­fec­tive con­trol of part of the base’.

AFRICOM ac­cused Al Shabaab of ly­ing in or­der to cre­ate false head­lines.

The So­mali ter­ror­ists have staged sev­eral large-scale at­tacks in­side Kenya in re­tal­i­a­tion for Nairobi send­ing troops into So­ma­lia as well as to tar­get for­eign in­ter­ests.

Four ter­ror­ists’ bod­ies have so far been found

(AFP)

This file photo shows Kenyan sol­diers tak­ing cover af­ter heavy gun­fire near West­gate mall in Nairobi on Septem­ber 23, 2013

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