Special Forces were drawn from elite East Africa Response Force (EARF) were on Sunday deployed to Kenya after Al-Shabaab raid, the US has confirmed.
The EARF, AFRICOM said, arrived at Manda Bay, Kenya, Jan. 5, to “augment security to secure the airfield after an attack by Al-Shabaab terrorists”.
Al-Shabaab militants raided Camp Simba near Manda Airstrip which plays host to Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and US Marine, AFRICOM said.
Three US citizens among them a serviceman were killed. The two slain civilians were contracted by the KDF, the US military said.
Al-Shabaab, a U.S. Government designated Foreign Terrorist Organization has been causing havoc across East Africa for over a decade.
The swift deployment of EARF bolstered ground troops that were at the site at the time of the attack, crushing Al-Shabaab militants, reports said.
“The EARF provides a critical combat-ready, rapid deployment force,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations, U.S. Africa Command.
Stationed in friendly East Africa nations, the troops are usually deployed for reinforcement whenever emergencies arise.
Already, Manda airfield has been secured with the forces, which are closely working with the Kenya Defense Forces troops at the coast.
“The EARF’s ability to respond to events spanning a vast area of responsibility provides a proven and invaluable on-call reinforcement capability in times of need,” he said.
The EARF, under the command and control of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, responds to a broad range of military operations including the protection of U.S. citizens, AFRICOM said.
Also, the troops guard diplomatic facilities, support for non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations, and other missions as directed.
During the daring attack, five Al-Shabaab militants were killed on spot with several sophisticated weapons confiscated, KDF reported.
The militants crossed over from the Hindi section before cutting power supply within the military base and its vicinity, locals said.
Al-Shabaab termed the operation “successful and daring”, adding that they inflicted massive casualties both on Kenya and US troops.
Seventeen US soldiers and nine KDF troops were killed in the attack, Al-Shabaab said, although it did not post any photos as proof.
General Stephen Townsend, the commander of AFRICOM, has since disputed the claims, terming them “propaganda and fake news”.
The Somalia-based militants are fighting a losing war and the US will work closely with East African nations to defeat them, he said.
Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i on Monday disputed claims that the KDF team suffered casualties during the Sunday raid.