The mastermind of the Manda Bay military camp attack and his wife have been killed by US airstrikes in Somalia.
In a statement by United States Africa Command on Tuesday, the military said post-strike assessments confirm the two terrorists were killed in the February 22 precision airstrikes. The wife was also a known al-Shabaab member.
The airstrikes were launched in Saakow region, approximately 320km west of Mogadishu.
“The two terrorists were identified as a senior al-Shabaab leader, who was in charge of planning and directing terrorist operations on the Kenya border region, including the recent attack on Manda Bay, and his wife, who also was a witting and active member of al-Shabaab responsible for facilitating a wide range of terrorist activities,” the statement said in part.
US Africa Command said they have since January 5 pursued those responsible for the attack on the American. and Kenyan forces at Manda Bay.
“This strike demonstrates that we will continue to relentlessly pursue those responsible for Manda Bay and those wishing to do harm to Americans and our African partners,” US Africa Command Army Gen Stephen Townsend said.
He added that al-Shabaab threatens the peace, stability, and freedom in East Afric, as well as Americans and US interest in the region and abroad.
In November 2019, after a series of complex attacks targeting Somali bases hosting US forces, al-Shabaab’s leadership publicly identified Americans and US interests worldwide as priority targets.
“The message mirrored Osama bin Laden’s declaration of war on the US in 199,” US Africa Command said.
They also noted that Amisom and the Somali National Army have made gains in al-Shabaab strongholds in southern Somalia, holding territory and establishing outposts.
“U.S. Africa Command will continue to support our African and European partners in the fight against al-Shabaab,” Townsend said. “It is important to impact their ability to threaten peace and security in East Africa and prevent their threats against the U.S. from being a reality.”
Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa, and its long-term stability is important to advancing comprehensive U.S. interests in the region.
Soon after the Manda Bay attack, The New York Times alleged that Many of the local Kenyan forces, assigned to defend the base, hid in the grass while other US troops and support staff were corralled into tents, with little protection, to wait out the battle.”