Soldiers successfully ended what is believed to be a terrorist attack against a U.S. military post in eastern Africa on Jan. 5.
The Kenyan Army confirmed it had stopped the al-Shabab terror group from conducting a Sunday morning raid against a military base that U.S. service personnel use in Lamu county, about 415 miles southeast of Nairobi.
“At around 5:30 a.m. [local time] multiagency forces engaged and successfully repulsed an attempted terrorist breach of Manda Air Strip,” Kenya Defense Forces said on Facebook. “The situation has been contained on ground and normal airstrip functions set to resume.”
The operation killed at least five suspected terrorists and there is potential for more bodies to be recovered as the search continues.
“Search for more is ongoing,” the forces said. “One PK machine gun, four rocket-propelled grenade launchers, four AK 47 rifles, one hand grenade and assorted ammunition were [also] captured.”
The attack also resulted in stored fuel igniting at the facility.
“Arising from the unsuccessful breach a fire broke out affecting some of the fuel tanks located at the airstrip,” the forces said on Facebook. “The fire has been put under control and standard security procedures are now ongoing.”
Bloomberg reported one U.S. service member and two defense contractors died in the al-Qaeda-linked raid on the facility. Two more service members were wounded and have already been evacuated.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our teammates who lost their lives today,” U.S. Africa Command Commander Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement according to the news agency.
The military warned other potential attackers against conducting another raid because it will only fail and bring a swift end to their path of destruction.
“Terrorists are known for propagating false and misleading information in an attempt to grab headlines and feed their egos,” the forces said on Facebook. “Their contorted plans have not and will never succeed. Multiagency forces charged with defending and protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our Republic will continue to pursue and destroy these forces of evil until they are smoked from their caves and permanently destroyed.”
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) confirmed the attack has not changed the U.S.’s relationship with Kenya.
“Although this attack shows a clear intent to continue targeting the United States’ presence in the region, the United States continues to stand in strong partnership with Kenya,” Engel said in a statement.