US commander tours Manda bay weeks after Alshabaab attack

Smoke billows from Camp Simba in Mandabay during the attack PHOTO COURTESY

The US Africa Command surveyed the progress of recent security developments at Manda Bay, Thursday and met with U.S. service members to gain a firsthand account of the attack by the Al-Shabaab terrorist network last month.

The attack claimed the lives of three Americans namely U.S. Army Spc. Henry J. Mayfield, Jr. and U.S. contractors Bruce Triplett, Dustin Harrison, and one Kenyan identified as Mwalimu Chengo who was killed as the militants were approaching the military base.

Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command made the stopover at Mandabay before proceeding to inspect security installations in Somalia.

 “U.S. Africa Command works closely with the Kenyan Defense Force and shares a strong relationship. Kenya’s security contributions help contain the spread of Al-Shabaab. Together, we truly understand the danger Al-Shabaab poses and why it is important to pursue them,” said Townsend.

“China and Russia do very little to help Africans combat the brutal terrorist networks plaguing them,” said Townsend. Conversely, U.S. training, equipment and advice directly support our African partners, including Kenya and Somalia, in our common fight against terrorism. Our efforts are not just an investment in the security and stability of Africa but also provide enhanced security for the U.S. homeland,” he added.

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His visit came just a few weeks after he admitted before a US congress committee that the US was not well prepared to deal with an attack in their base in Manda bay.

“I think it’s self-obvious we were not as prepared there at Manda Bay as we needed to be. Al Shabaab managed to penetrate onto that airfield. A lot of people don’t know but the base where our troops live is not where the airfield is,” he said.

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The militants had staged the daring attack just a few days after the US carried out airstrikes in Somalia targeting the militants who had earlier claimed 81 lives in a car bomb attack in Mogadishu.

Following the attack, more servicemen from The East Africa Response Force (EARF) were deployed to help secure the camp that hosts both Kenyan and American soldiers.