US, Kenyan Forces Repel al-Shabab Attack on Airstrip

US and Kenyan forces on Jan. 5 repelled an al-Shabab attack on an airstrip in Kenya, killing four terrorists that attempted to breach the base at Camp Simba in Manda Bay.

US Africa Command, in a statement, said the airfield has been cleared and was still being secured. The situation at the base is “fluid” and an accounting of personnel was underway. There are initial reports of damage to both infrastructure and equipment. Two aircraft, one US and one Kenyan, were destroyed in the attack and two helicopters were damaged, The Associated Press reported citing an internal Kenyan police report.

The Kenyan Defense Forces in a statement said four terrorist bodies had been recovered and the airstrip is safe. AFRICOM refuted Al Shabaab claims of extensive damage to the facility, saying the group “resorts to lies, coercion, and the exertion of force to bolster their reputation.”

“It is important to counter al-Shabaab where they stand to prevent the spread of this cancer,” US Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, AFRICOM’s director of operations, said in the statement.

Camp Simba has long hosted US personnel to work alongside Kenyan forces and as a staging point for operations into Somalia. It is home to the 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron, who raised the flag for the first time in August as it changed “from tactical to enduring operations,” according to a US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa release

The base had been expanding, with the creation of an exchange along with an upcoming new dining facility and gym, according to the Air Force.