Al-Shabab attacks military base used by US forces in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The United States (US) military said the security situation was “fluid” at a Kenyan airfield used by US forces after a pre-dawn attack yesterday by the al-Shabab extremist group. The attack destroyed US aircraft and vehicles, Kenyan authorities said, and at least four attackers were killed.

It was not yet clear whether any US or Kenyan forces were killed. A US Africa Command statement said “an accountability of personnel assessment is underway”. The midday statement said the Manda Bay airfield was “still in the process of being fully secured”.

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab, based in neighbouring Somalia, claimed responsibility and asserted that “intense” combat with US forces continued. The US statement called the al-Shabab claims exaggerated and said US and Kenyan forces repelled the attack.

It is the first known al-Shabab attack against US forces inside Kenya, a key base for fighting one of the world’s most resilient extremist organisations.

A plume of black smoke rose above the base. Residents said a car bomb had exploded early in the morning. Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia told The Associated Press that five suspects were arrested and were being interrogated.

Airmen from the US 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron conduct a flag-raising ceremony, signifying the change from tactical to enduring operations, at Camp Simba, Manda Bay, Kenya. PHOTO: AP