After Al-Shabaab attack at Manda Bay, US Defense Secretary visits 3 years later
NAIROBI, Kenya - The US is one of the biggest deployers of security forces around the world following the unprecedented attack on home ground in 2001, with the terrorists targeting the Pentagon, which houses the Department of Defence and other strategic offices in the country, throughout this period, their forces have rarely been attacked.
Although no large-scale attacks have been recorded abroad throughout the missions US forces have participated, there have been attempts, particularly in Somalia, which saw the Al-Shabaab militants try to infiltrate the Balligodle army base, which also houses Somali National Army [SNA] Special Forces; Danab around 2019.
But a year later, the US Africa Command faced one of most threatening resistance from Al-Shabaab militants in one of the fortified military bases at Manda Bay in Kenya, with the Al-Qaeda-linked group almost running over the base. The Airfield attack in Jan. 2020 was recorded as the worst encounter the US forces have faced.
During the battle, at least three US citizens including a serviceman were killed, with questions about the commitment of Kenya Defence Forces [KDF] in repulsing the attack emerging. There were claims that KDF soldiers "hid in the grass" when Al-Shabaab militants were running riot.
With the US still remaining a major security partner of Kenya in the fight against Al-Shabaab, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin III visited Manda Bay Airfield on Tuesday, where he lauded the impact made by the troops serving in coastal parts of the East African nation, in countering Al-Shabaab threat.
Austin thanked the troops for their teamwork and the sacrifices they made every day in their efforts to find long-lasting peace and security. He emphasized on strengthening of relations between Kenya and the US which have been rather cordial.
“We are proud of you and grateful for what you do. Thank you for working side by side in supporting each other by working on very important issues that address security for both Kenya and the US.
The visit, he said, is a furtherance of the Defence Cooperation Framework that he signed along with his Kenyan counterpart Aden Duale at Defence Headquarters that shall enable the two countries to work together in the field of defence technology and innovation
Kenya's Defence Cabinet Secretary Hon. Aden Duale accompanied the United States Secretary of Defence Mr Lloyd Austin III to Kenya Navy Base-Manda in Lamu. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen the already existing bond and military ties between the two countries, Duale said.
In his address, the CS acknowledged that the two countries face similar security threats which demand strategic collaboration in the ever-changing security environment. Duale applauded troops from both countries for their synergy in the joint pursuit of peace and stability in the region and beyond.
“We thank all of you for your service. Your sacrifice is the reason we are able to enjoy peace and freedom,” said Hon. Duale.
Also present during the visit were Commander Kenya Navy Major General Jimson Mutai, Commander Kenya Navy Base-Manda Brigadier Thomas Ng’ang’a, Chief of Strategic Policy and Plans at the Defence Headquarters Brigadier Edward Rugendo and other senior military officers from the two countries, KDF reported.