TERROR STRIKES AGAIN AS MANDA AIRFIELD IS TARGETED BY AL SHABAB EXTREMISTS
(Posted 05th January 2020 13.55 hrs and updated at 18.56 hrs)
(Pictures courtesy of Mercy Kamau)
While the emergency NOTAM, issued earlier today following an apparent attack on the [nearby military] airfield by Al Shabab militants, halting traffic into and out of the civilian Manda Airfield in Lamu was lifted just moments ago, has the attack on the not too far away military airfield nevertheless shaken the island’s tourism fraternity and residents to the very core.
To gain access to a secured military facility in the hour just before sunrise is evidence that security around key aviation but also other key infrastructure hotspots is in need to review and step up, given the audacious raid staged by militants.
From reports received have several aircraft been destroyed including a Kenyan registered Cessna Grand Caravan as were vehicles and even at least one helicopter.
The attack took place at 05.23 hrs a.m. and while it was eventually stopped and the attackers driven off – according to Kenyan sources – is an attack on Lamu county’s main military airfield an indicator what Al Shabab is still capable of. At least four of the attackers were killed when Kenyan security forces engaged them. Reports from Kenya also speak of several arrests which have been made already in the wider area of Lamu county.
There is intense speculation that Al Shabab’s attack served the purpose of their distant masters in Tehran who vowed revenge to the killing of Iranian General Soleimani in Baghdad a few days ago. Kenya is seen as a close ally of the US in the fight against extremism and terrorism in Somalia. At the Manda military airfield are American troops and equipment stationed and the US Africa Command, which is based in Stuttgart / Germany, has issued several statements already since morning.
Earlier this week was a bus on the mainland traveling to Lamu attacked leaving three bus passengers dead and several others wounded.
The US Africa Command has overnight confirmed that at least three US citizens were killed in the attack and several others wounded. It was also confirmed that several aircraft based at the airfield were severely damaged or destroyed. The confirmation comes after a day of downplaying the impact of the attack and minimizing the damages caused. Kenyan authorities have yet to release any information about any casualties their own forces suffered during the Al Shabab attack yesterday morning.