Jihadists 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 jihadists 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 jihadists 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.
Two aircraft, two helicopters and multiple vehicles destroyed in the attack 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.—INP