A report by the NewYork Times has laid bare the intricate details of the January, 5, attack on Manda Bay airstrip, killing three US officers.
In the accounts given by sources placed at the joint base that hosts both Kenyan and American troops, KDF soldiers tasked with guarding their US counterparts took off and hid in the grass.
The attack was seen as one of the most daring attacks on Americans in Africa that set the Pentagon back a couple of millions of dollars.
Surveillance aircraft were bombed during the attack and the jet fuel facility at the station destroyed, rendering the base useless.
Trouble started when contractor pilots were at the base’s airstrip shuttling an aircraft when they saw ‘animals’ dashing across the airstrip.
The ‘animals’ turned out to be Al-Shabaab militants who had gained access to the base through its loosely-guarded perimeter walls manned by KDF officers.
The militants would fire a rocket-propelled grenade into the plane killing two Americans and badly injuring another who managed to crawl from the burning plane into the grass.
In the melee that saw another US serviceman shot dead, the Kenyan troops left the US soldiers at the mercy of the militants.
While the story by the NewYork Times is likely to attract widespread backlash from readers who believe the West portrays African soldiers as inept, no Kenyan soldiers were either injured in the attack, laying credence to the report.
America would send a battalion of elite military officers to the base to handle any recurring attacks within and beyond the Kenya-Somalia border.