An advance on a aggressive alpha in Kenya area U.S. troops are stationed, as able-bodied as its associated airfield, has larboard a U.S. servicemember and two contractors asleep and six aircraft and helicopters damaged or destroyed. This includes a backstairs U.S. aggressive de Havilland Dash-8 twin-engine turboprop configured for intelligence, surveillance, and assay missions. The terrorists who agitated out the arrest additionally damaged or destroyed cartage and ammunition tanks.
Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda’s authorization in Somalia, agitated out the advance on the base, accepted as Affected Simba, and the adjacent airfield, about referred to artlessly as Manda Bay afterwards the adjacent anatomy of baptize of the aforementioned name, occurred in the aboriginal hours bounded time on Jan. 5, 2020. The terrorists reportedly acclimated a suicide car bomb to aperture the basic adeptness and additionally stormed the airstrip, both of which are anchored almost 60 afar southwest of the Somali border. One U.S. account affiliate and two Department of Defense contractors died in the attack, according to U.S. Africa Command, while accession two U.S. aggressive associates were afflicted and are, at the time of writing, in abiding action and actuality evacuated.
There is no chat yet on any Kenyan casualties, but the country’s authorities accept said that at atomic eight Al Shabaab terrorists died in the after skirmish. U.S. and Kenyan authorities had beforehand back issued statements that armament from both countries had auspiciously repelled the attackers.
“The advance on the admixture today circuitous aberrant and baby accoutrements fire. Afterwards an antecedent assimilation of the perimeter, Kenya Defense Armament and U.S. Africa Command repelled the al-Shabaab attack,” AFRICOM’s account read. “Reports announce that six contractor-operated noncombatant aircraft were damaged to some degree.”
the accepted area of both Affected Simba and the Manda Bay airfield.
A accessory angel giving a accepted attending at the area of the Manda Bay aerodrome and Affected Simba to the north.
The abounding admeasurement of the accident charcoal unclear. The Associated Press, citation an antecedent Kenyan badge address the aperture had seen, had appear that an bearding U.S. “Cessna,” as able-bodied as a Kenyan Cessna Grand Caravan, and two alien U.S. helicopters, forth with assorted American cartage had been destroyed.
Pictures that accept emerged that appearance what appears to be the charcoal of a Beechcraft King Air that was destroyed and austere out during the attack, as able-bodied as a brace of M-ATV mine-resistant cartage that actual acceptable accord to U.S. forces. This could be the aircraft that the Kenyan badge address declared as a U.S. “Cessna.”
Some letters accept appropriate that this could be a U.S. Air Force C-146A Wolfhound appropriate operations transport, but the appendage area apparent in the angel conspicuously lacks the “stinger” appearance appendage apparent on that aircraft, forth with added differences. In addition, AFRICOM has alone said so far that the destroyed and damaged aircraft were contractor-operated, which the Wolfhounds are not.
Contractors do fly a mix of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters from the Manda Bay to accommodate transport, blow evacuation, and cadre accretion abutment to American armament and their bounded ally in Kenya and adjoining Somalia, area U.S. appropriate operations armament and added troops are angry Al Shabaab and training Somali cadre to do the same. At atomic one contractor-operated Bell 412 helicopter is based there, which could be amid the U.S. helicopters that reportedly got destroyed in the raid.
US appropriate operators assignment with a contractor-operated Bell 412 helicopter during a training exercise in 2019 abreast Affected Simba.
Al Shabaab has additionally appear its own pictures from the attack, acutely assuming a distinctively configured de Havilland Dash-8 in advanced of what appears to be the afire ammunition tanks. We don’t apperceive how astringent the accident to this even is, but one account does appearance smoke advancing out of the cockpit and an Al Shabaab agitator actualization to be putting or aggravating to put article inside.
A account Al Shabaab appear from the attack, assuming the Dash-8 in advanced of a afire fire.
Another angel assuming an Al Shabaab agitator possibly putting article into the aircraft’s cockpit as smoke pours out.
This U.S.-government owned, but contractor-operated Dash-8, a DHC-8-202 model, belongs to a backstairs agile of U.S. Appropriate Operations Command (SOCOM) intelligence, surveillance and assay (ISR) aircraft accepted as SOCOM Tactical Airborne Multi-Sensor Platforms, or STAMP, which The War Zone was aboriginal to address on. These aircraft are accepted to abutment atramentous Joint Appropriate Operations Command.
At present, the STAMP agile includes two DHC-8-202s, as able-bodied as three Beechcraft King Airs. The acrylic arrangement on the aircraft in the images Al Shabaab acquaint online, white with a ample dejected cheatline with a abate red one underneath, matches the Dash-8 that anon carries the U.S. noncombatant allotment cipher N8200L. You can apprehend added about this accurate even in this accomplished War Zone piece. The added STAMP Dash-8, N8200R, has a agnate acrylic job, but with the colors of the cheatlines reversed.
Details about the absolute STAMP agile as of May 2019.
Satellite adumbration shows that U.S. Air Force Appropriate Operations Command U-28A ISR aircraft and contractor-operated Beechcraft King Airs are additionally approved visitors to Manda Bay.
A accessory angel from April 2019, assuming assorted aircraft at Manda Bay, including at Beechcraft King Air at the top of the aerodrome about to booty off.
Whatever the final accident appraisal is and how abounding aircraft and added assets Al Shabaab succeeded in antibacterial or damaging, the advance is a decidedly audacious account of the group’s actual absolute adeptness to bang alfresco of Somalia. Kenya, which is a cogent affiliate of the African Union-led operations targeting Al Shabaab in Somalia, has suffered a cardinal of attacks on both aggressive and noncombatant targets on its own clay from the accumulation in contempo years.
Just aftermost year, the agitator alignment launched a above advance on an flush Dusit D2 Hotel and associated business circuitous in the Kenyan basic Nairobi, killing 21 bodies and acid accession 28. Afterwards that operation, Al Shabaab appear the alpha of a advance it dubbed “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) will never be Judaized,” a advertence to a agreement to ultimately banish Israel from the burghal of Jerusalem, a accepted burden amid Islamic agitator groups. The Somalia terrorists said that the arrest on Affected Simba and Manda Bay was allotment of this aforementioned campaign. There is no adumbration that this is angry to the advancing crisis amid the United States and Iran.
This additionally comes as the U.S. aggressive has decidedly broadcast both accessories in contempo years, which coincided with U.S. President Donald Trump’s accommodation to baptize a swath of southern Somalia as an “area of alive hostilities” in 2017. This enabled the U.S. aggressive to badly access its operations there and has led to a fasten in airstrikes, including application drones, on Al Shabaab targets back then. Aircraft aeriform from Manda Bay accept been accouterment important assiduous surveillance capabilities over southern Somalia in abutment of those operations.
Left to right, Manda Bay in 2014, 2018, and 2019.
U.S. armament aboriginal began operating from Affected Simba and Manda Bay added than 10 years ago, with the U.S. Navy initially actuality amenable for administering operations at these facilities. In accession to application the aerodrome as a barrage point for aeriform assay over adjoining Somalia, American armament accept acclimated the basic abject as a training abject for both Kenyan and Somali forces.
In 2017, all-embracing albatross for both sites anesthetized to the U.S. Air Force, which accustomed the 475th Expeditionary Air Abject Squadron to baby-sit circadian activities at Manda Bay. In August 2019, this assemblage aloft the American banderole over the airfield, in a commemoration that apparent its alteration to an “enduring” base, acceptation the U.S. aggressive now treats it as a semi-permanent operating location.
Despite this absolute plan to abide operations at this armpit for the accountable future, Al Shabaab’s advance has approved a bright charge for U.S. and Kenyan armament to amend their arresting aspect activity forward.
We will amend this adventure as added advice becomes available.
Author’s note: The aboriginal adaptation of this adventure said that three Americans had died. U.S. Africa Command has not yet defined the nationalities of the two Department of Defense contractors. The adventure has been adapted to reflect this.
U.S. Army Accepted Stephen Townsend, administrator of U.S. Africa Command, has actually denied claims on Social Media that Al Shabaab dead him during the advance on Affected Simba and the Manda Bay airstrip.
The U.S. aggressive has not yet formally appear the identities of the U.S. serviceperson and two Department of Defense contractors who died in the attack. However, the ancestors of U.S. Army Specialist Henry Mayfield, Jr., has told assorted media outlets that he was the serviceperson who was killed. It’s is not accepted yet what assemblage Mayfield was assigned to at the time.
Authorities in Kenya accept insisted that no Kenyans died in the attack.
AFRICOM has additionally now said that bristles aircraft and helicopters were absolutely destroyed and accession was damaged in the attack. The command had initially said alone that six aircraft and helicopters had accustomed capricious degrees of damage.
There are additionally now letters that three doubtable Al Shabaab terrorists attempted to aperture a British military-operated training affected in Kenya, as well, but were bedfast after incident. The British Army maintains a continuing training aspect in Kenya, accepted as the British Army Training Assemblage Kenya (BATUK), at a armpit arctic of the basic Nairobi.
UPDATE: 1:20pm EST
U.S. Africa Command has appear a new account advertence that elements of the East Africa Response Force (EARF) accept deployed to Affected Simba and Manda to accommodate added aegis in the after-effects of the attack. The EARF is a accident force based at Affected Lemonnier in Djibouti that is fatigued from alternating units and, admitting its name, provides a committed accelerated acknowledgment adequacy to abutment U.S. operations beyond Africa, as necessary.
“Contrary to assorted accessible antecedent reports, U.S. Africa Command does not appraise yesterday’s advance by al-Shabaab is affiliated to Iran,” the columnist absolution added. “While Iranian captivation is not doubtable in the attack, U.S. Africa Command has empiric added nations, including Iran, seek added access in the Horn of Africa.”
UPDATE: 5:30pm EST
The U.S. aggressive has now clearly appear that U.S. Army Specialist Henry Mayfield, Jr., assigned to the 1st Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment, allotment of the 164th Theater Aerodrome Operations Accumulation based Fort Rucker, Alabama, died in the attack. The Pentagon has still not appear advice about the two Department of Defense contractors who were killed.
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