For immediate release | Thursday, January 9, 2020

Al-Shabab Attacks U.S. Military Airbase, Laying Destruction In Somalia & Kenya

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Three Americans Killed At Manda Bay Airfield In Kenya, Part Of Series Of Attacks

(New York, N.Y.) – On January 5, 2020, Somali terrorist group al-Shabab launched an attack on a U.S. military airbase in Kenya, near the country’s border with Somalia. The incursion at Manda Bay Airfield killed one U.S. military service member and two American contractors as well as five of the attackers. Six civilian aircrafts and three military vehicles were destroyed before Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) and U.S. African Command began repelling the assailants. This was the first al-Shabab attack against U.S. forces inside Kenya and marks a notable escalation by the terrorist group.

Two other major attacks have also occurred this month. On January 7, al-Shabab militants opened fire near Saretho village in Garissa county. The attackers killed four children and wounded three others before being repelled by security forces. The assailants were targeting a telecommunications mast. Kenyan authorities later claim to have seized bomb-making materials following the attack. On January 8, al-Shabab militants detonated a bomb at Sayidka junction, a security checkpoint near the presidential palace and other government buildings, in Mogadishu. The attack killed three and wounded 11 others. Al-Shabab issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, stating that Somalia’s government has not fully secured “Mogadishu’s major arteries.”

Kenya has taken a lead role in supporting counterterrorism operations in Somalia, despite having endured heavy losses of its own from terrorist attacks. Al-Shabab is the most active extremist group in Kenya—primarily along the country’s northern border with Somalia—and remains focused on Kenyan targets. The Kenyan government has worked to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, including Kenyan nationals, attempting to join al-Shabab in Somalia or ISIS in Libya, Iraq, or Syria.

To read CEP’s Kenya resource, please click here.

To read CEP’s Somalia resource, please click here.

To read CEP’s al-Shabab resource, please click here.