Wednesday, January 20, 2020
Americans have criticised the Kenya Defence Forces over the January 5 attack at Camp Simba in Manda Bay.
According to the New York Times, KDF hid in the grass during the attack that saw three Americans killed when al-Shabaab attacked the base.
Article read in part
- “Surprised by the attack, American commandos took around an hour to respond. Many of the local Kenyan forces, assigned to defend the base, hid in the grass while other American troops and support staff were corralled into tents, with little protection, to wait out the battle.”
During the the al Shabaab attack, one US service member and two contractors were killed and two Department of Defence members were wounded.
The American newspaper further insinuates that the performance of the Kenyan security forces during and after the battle frustrated American officials.
It claimed that Kenyans announced they had captured six al Shabaab, but they all turned out to be “bystanders and were released.”
- “It would require hours to evacuate one of the wounded to a military hospital in Djibouti, roughly 1,500 miles away.” the article added
According to the New York Times, on the morning of the attack, contractor pilots Dustin Harrison, 47, and Bruce Triplett, 64, were taxiing their Beechcraft King Air 350 on Manda Bay’s tarmac.
Armed with rifles and explosives, about a dozen Shabab fighters destroyed an American surveillance plane as it was taking off and ignited an hourslong gunfight earlier this month on a sprawling military base in Kenya that houses United States troops.
By the time the Shabab were done, portions of the airfield were burning and three Americans were dead.
But the storming of an airfield used by the American military so alarmed the Pentagon that it immediately sent about 100 troops from the 101st Airborne Division to establish security at the base. Army Green Berets from Germany also were shuttled to Djibouti, the Pentagon’s major hub in Africa, in case the entire base was in danger of being taken by the Shabab, an East African terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The paper added that Kenya is a new addition to the list of countries where Americans have been killed in combat since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, joining Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Niger, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
The article continued…
“Early on the morning of Jan. 5, Dustin Harrison, 47, and Bruce Triplett, 64, two experienced pilots and contractors with L3 Technologies, a Pentagon contractor that helps conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions around the world, were taxiing their Beechcraft King Air 350 on Manda Bay’s tarmac. They throttled down their engines, according to one person familiar with the attack. The two men reported that they saw animals darting across the runway.”
“They were wrong. The animals were in fact Shabab fighters, who had infiltrated the base’s outer perimeter — a poorly defended fence line — before heading to the base’s airstrip. As the twin-propeller Beechcraft, loaded with sensors and video equipment for surveillance, began to taxi, the Shabab fighters fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the plane, killing Mr. Harrison and Mr. Triplett. With the plane on fire, a third contractor, badly burned in the rear of the aircraft, crawled out to safety.”
The Shabab fighters were not done. In the ensuing chaos, they made quick work of a significant portion of the American fleet of aircraft a mix of six surveillance aircraft and medical evacuation helicopters on the ground at the time. The Shabab fighters also destroyed a fuel storage area, rendering the airfield next to useless. The attack most likely cost the Pentagon millions of dollars in damages.
Specialist Henry Mayfield Jr., 23, of the Army was in a nearby truck acting as an air traffic controller when he was killed in the gunfight, according to a person familiar with the incident.