Al-Shabaab claimed its fighters attacked a US-Kenya military base in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region early today.
The strike on the base known as Camp Simba in Manda Bay is the latest by the group in Kenya since Nairobi sent troops across the border in 2011.
Kenya’s army spokesman Colonel Paul Njuguna confirmed in a statement that at 5:30 am “an attempt was made to breach security at Manda Air Strip.”
“The attempted breach was successfully repulsed. Four terrorist bodies have so far been found. The airstrip is safe. Arising from the unsuccessful breach a fire broke out affecting some of the fuel tanks located at the airstrip.”
He said the fire had been brought under control “and standard security procedures are now on-going.”
Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia also confirmed there had been an attack and said the militants “have been repulsed.”
“We are not sure if there are still remnants within,” he said.
Kenya’s Defence Forces also said the militia group attempted to breach security at the airstrip – They were neutralized and four of them were killed during the early morning attack.
Al-Shabaab, however, issued a statement claiming it killed several soldiers and destroyed military equipment.
The police confirmed that the militants destroyed the airstrip used by the U.S. marine and burnt aircraft, contrary to the statement by the Kenyan military.
“There was a lot of gunfire between the militants and soldiers in the military base. Some aircraft and vehicles belonging to the U.S. were burnt,” a police officer who declined to be named told Xinhua.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack in Lamu County, saying their fighters’ “suicide infantry” was involved in the attack.
“Our fighters inflicted severe casualties on both U.S. and Kenyan troops, destroyed U.S. military aircraft and vehicles,” al-Shabab said in a statement.