Militants of the Somalia-based al-Shabab terrorist group have launched an attack against a military base used by US and Kenyan forces in neighboring Kenya, with conflicting accounts of the aftermath.
In a statement on Sunday, Kenya’s army spokesman Colonel Paul Njuguna said an attempt had been made at 5:30 a.m. local time “to breach security at Manda Air Strip,” located on Kenya’s coast near the border with Somalia.
“The attempted breach was successfully repulsed. Four terrorists’ bodies have so far been found. The airstrip is safe. Arising from the unsuccessful breach a fire broke out affecting some of the fuel tanks located at the airstrip,” he added.
The US military command for Africa, AFRICOM, confirmed the attack in a statement, saying it is monitoring the situation.
The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab terror group claimed responsibility in a statement, but said the raid was still ongoing.
It said it had “successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of part of the base.”
The Takfiri outfit also said there had been both Kenyan and American casualties.
“Seven aircraft and three military vehicles were destroyed in the attack,” said the statement, which included photos of aircraft ablaze and an al-Shabaab militant standing nearby.
In September 2019, the al-Shabaab militants launched two separate attacks on a US military base and a European Union military convoy in Somalia.
In 2011, the terrorist group was pushed out of Somalia’s capital city with the help of African Union forces.
However, al-Shabaab still wields power in rural areas across the country, and every now and then launches deadly terrorist attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in the capital, as well as regional towns.
It has fought successive Somali governments as well as neighboring governments in Kenya and Uganda.
Somalia has faced instability and violence since 1991, when the military government was overthrown.