A terrorist group linked to al-Qaida killed one U.S. service member and two Pentagon contractors in an attack in Kenya on Sunday, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) said.
Al-Shabaab, which joined forces with al-Qaida in 2008 and is based in Somalia, launched the attack on a Kenyan military base near Manda Bay, according to a statement from AFRICOM.
AFRICOM said that the attack on the base “involved indirect and small arms fire.”
“After an initial penetration of the perimeter, Kenya Defense Forces and U.S. Africa Command repelled the al-Shabaab attack. Reports indicate that six contractor-operated civilian aircraft were damaged to some degree.”
The U.S. military uses Manda Bay Airfield as a launch point for missions in Africa.
The Kenyan Defence Forces said in a statement that the attack started at around 5:30 a.m. local time, and that at least four al-Shabaab members were killed.
“The attempted breach was successfully repulsed. Four terrorists bodies have so far been found,” the Kenyan military said.
“The airstrip is safe. Arising from the unsuccessful breach a fire broke out affecting some of the fuel tanks located at the airstrip. The fire has been put under control and standard security procedures are now on-going.”
Al-Shabaab took responsibility for an attack in Mogadishu that killed 79 people Dec. 28, 2019.
U.S. forces working with the Somali government conducted three airstrikes against al-Shabaab strongholds in response to the Mogadishu attack. AFRICOM said four terrorists were killed in the strikes.