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Africa News of Friday, 24 January 2020


US Africom denies Kenyan soldiers hid during attack

US Africa Command has increased troops protecting the Manda Bay military base The US military African command has denied reports that Kenyan soldiers hid in the grass as militants of the Islamist group al-Shabab attacked the Manda Bay military base near the Somali border.

The New York Times carried an article this week that claimed the Kenyan soldiers took cover as al-Shabab fighters stormed into the base, named Camp Simba, and destroyed an American surveillance plane and the airfield.

One US military service member and two contractors were killed in the 5 January attack.

The article said that the performance of Kenyan soldiers during the attack had frustrated their American colleagues.

But in a reply, the US Africa command said the response by US and Kenyan forces to the attack was "timely and effective" and helped to "reduce the number of casualties and eliminated the potential for further damage".

Five al-Shabab fighters were killed and several dozen were repelled, it said in a statement.

It however acknowledged that the al-Shabab fighters "achieved a degree of success in its attack".

“The attack at Manda Bay demonstrates that al-Shabab remains a dangerous and capable enemy,” General Stephen Townsend, US Africa Command commander, was quoted as saying

The US has sent a senior military leader to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the attack.

Kenya's military spokesman Colonel Paul Njuguna told the BBC on Thursday that the New York Times article was not based on facts.

He said details of the attack will only be clear after a board appointed to investigate the circumstances of the attack releases its findings.

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