United States has deployed one of its top elite military units to guard its interests off the Kenyan Coast.
The deployment was made after al-Shabaab militia killed three American at the Kenya Defence Forces military base at Manda Bay.
On Thursday, Senior US Africa Command officials visited partner forces and American troops stationed at Camp Simba and Manda Bay Airfield on Thursday.
US Africa Commander Gen Stephen Townsend has directed an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the attack by al-Shabaab of the airfield at Manda Bay.
“I want ground truth to assess the situation and hear from the troops to ensure they have what they need to accomplish their mission. As the circumstances surrounding this attack are investigated, our deepest condolences remain with the families of our fallen teammates. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten,” a statement from the US military quoted Townsend.
The U.S. Africa Command’s East Africa Response Force (EARF), will respond to a variety of military operations, protect diplomatic facilities and provide humanitarian assistance.
“The EARF provides a critical combat-ready, rapid deployment force. 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,” U.S. Africa Command Army director of operations Maj. Gen. William Gayler said in a statement.
The EARF, under the command and control of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, responds to a broad range of military operations.
They include the protection of U.S. citizens and diplomatic facilities and the support for non-combatant evacuation operations.
Others responsibilities are humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations, and other missions as directed.
The U.S. Africa Command said the attack is not linked to its diplomatic row with Iran.
Last Sunday, one US service member and two contractors were killed in the Al-Shabaab attack on the military base in Lamu.
In addition, the US Africa Command confirmed that two Department of Defence members were wounded in the attack.
Al-Shabaab senior leaders pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and are believed to have trained and fought in Afghanistan.
In 2008, the U.S. Government designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
The terrorist group has expressed the intent to attack the United States homeland and target Americans, but US persistent pressure placed on them constrains their ability to carry out those desires.
The statement said that the attack on the Manda Bay compound on Sunday morning at around 5.30am involved indirect and small arms fire.
Meanwhile, Senior U.S. Africa Command officials visited partner forces and American troops stationed at Camp Simba and Manda Bay Airfield on Thursday.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Michael Turello, the senior U.S. Africa Command officer on the continent and commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), met with U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Leonard Kosinski, U.S. Africa Command director of logistics, in Manda Bay to gain an initial assessment of the situation. Kosinski was accompanied by U.S. Navy Command Master Chief Ryan Burton, acting command senior enlisted leader, along with an investigating officer.
“Al-Shabaab is ruthless and must be dealt with before the network expands its reach to other places, to include their stated desire to strike U.S. citizens on the U.S. homeland,” said Townsend.
He added; “This al-Qaida-aligned terrorist network has demonstrated an ability to conduct external attacks previously and will continue to do so unless they are countered where they reside.”
On November 5, al-Shabaab released a 52-minute video narrated by al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Omar Abu Ubeyda calling for attacks against Americans wherever they are, stating the American public is a legitimate target, and echoing a number of other global jihadist themes observed in Usama Bin Laden historical videos.
“Al-Shabaab spreads lies and spills innocent blood,” said Townsend. “I’ve dealt with this type of enemy before. They need to be stopped. Alongside our partners, we are definitely up to the job.”