The Al Qaeda branch claims its men enacted “heavy losses” to AMISOM and Kenyan troops in southern Somalia. African Union troops and the Somali government have stated otherwise, however.
AFRICOM has stepped up its air campaign against Shabaab since the beginning of the year, targeting the group 33 times.
U.S. Africa Command said it killed the Shabaab commander was “in charge of planning and directing terrorist operations” along the Kenyan border, including the raid on the Manda Bay Airfield. Three Americans were killed in that attack.
One U.S. service member and two Defense Department contractors were killed during a raid by Shabaab on the Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya earlier today. U.S. AFRICOM accused the al-Qaeda arm of exaggerating the effects of its operation, which is true. But the jihadists still managed to infiltrate an airfield used by the U.S. and its allies to combat the group.
Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s regional branch in East Africa, assaulted the Manda Bay Airfield in Kenya earlier today. The extent of the damage is unclear, but at least some aircraft and equipment was set ablaze.
Shabaab released a two-page statement saying the Jan. 15 attack at a hotel in Nairobi was conducted in accordance with Ayman al Zawahiri’s “guidelines.” The al Qaeda arm has other reasons for striking inside Kenya as well, including the government’s role in the guerrilla war in Somalia.
The jihadist group continues to launch large-scale attacks inside Kenyan territory.
Shabaab has managed to launch 418 attacks of different types during the six-month timeframe in support of its persistent and ongoing insurgency against Somalia’s weak central government and allied African Union forces.