On Jan. 5, 2020, at around 05:30 AM LT, the Somali terrorist organization al-Shabaab attacked Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya, Killing three American Department of Defense personnel and destroying several U.S. aircraft and vehicles before they were repelled, U.S. and Kenyan authorities said.
Manda Bay Airfield is also known as “Camp Simba”, a base used by both U.S. and Kenyan forces.
The attack on the compound “involved indirect and small arms fire. After an initial penetration of the perimeter, Kenya Defense Forces and U.S. Africa Command repelled the al-Shabaab attack,” said the AFRICOM statement. “Reports indicate that six contractor-operated civilian aircraft were damaged to some degree. Manda Bay Airfield is utilized by U.S. forces whose missions include providing training to our African partners, responding to crises, and protecting U.S. interests in this strategically important area.”
The group posted 17 photographs showing their militants allegedly burning aircraft inside the base (one shows a fighter shooting a selfie next to a Dash 8 aircraft – more about this below), claiming 7 aircraft and 3 army vehicles were destroyed in the attack.
BREAKING: #AlShabaab publishes 17 images of their fighters allegedly burning aircraft inside #US naval base in #Lamu County, #Kenya. The group says it destroyed 7 aircraft & 3 army vehicles. #KDF spox says the attack was "repulsed". #AFRICOM say it's monitoring the situation. pic.twitter.com/bZxJEG8ZHt
— Morad News (@MoradNews) January 5, 2020
According to the Associated Press, an internal Kenyan police report “said two fixed-wing aircraft, a U.S. Cessna and a Kenyan one, were destroyed along with two U.S. helicopters and multiple U.S. vehicles”.
While no additional detail about the aircraft destroyed or damaged on the ground at Camp Simba has been released, several U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) aircraft regularly operate from the strip.
Among them, Cessna 208, U-28 (PC-12), C-146s (Dornier 328), Dash 8s, CN235s, as well as UH-60 and MH-6 helicopters along with MQ-9 Reaper RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicles) according to Scramble Magazine.
Beechcraft Super King Air variant destroyed at Camp Simba #Lamu #Kenya this morning? https://t.co/6cNEs7wyyU pic.twitter.com/2EWjIc8Kqv
— Ian Cox (@IanECox) January 5, 2020
Unconfirmed reports circulating on social media say that at least two U.S. aircraft were destroyed: a C-146A Wolfhound (US military designation of the Do-328) and a civil-registered DHC-8-Q202 operated by SOCOM.
Both AFRICOM (U.S. Africa Command) and the Kenya Defense Forces acknowledged there was an attack on the base. Initially, the KDF just said that the attack was repelled
According to AFRICOM statement, “six contractor-operated civilian aircraft” were damaged. Considered the C-146s are operated by the U.S. Air Force, it means the second aircraft (the one photographed in the aftermath of the attack) can’t be a Wolfhound.
UPDATE: Attack at Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya – https://t.co/hme2WO4wyl pic.twitter.com/xMyFHm0R41
— US AFRICOM (@USAfricaCommand) January 5, 2020