January 8, 2020

The United States Department of Defense said one American soldier and two Defense contractors were killed during Sunday’s terrorist attacks on a military base in Kenya.

The soldier, Spc Henry J. Mayfield Jr., 23, from Evergreen Park, Illinois and the contractor were killed on Monday, Jan. 5 when al-Shabaab terrorist group attacked the military compound in Manda Bay, Kenya. The names of the contractors have not been released by the Pentagon out of respect for their families.

“Out of respect for the families of the fallen and injured, we ask that everyone respect their privacy during this difficult time. the department of Defense is fully committed to providing the families of the fallen dedicated care, service and support,” the Department of Defense said in a statement.

During the attack, two U.S. Defense members were also wounded. The wounded soldiers were evacuated for treatments and are currently in stable conditions, the department said.

Mr. Mayfield was assigned to 1st battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment, 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group, Fort Rucker, Alabama and was supporting Operation Octave Shield in Kenya, according to the statement released by the Department of Defense.

In a statement, U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, Commander, U.S. Africa Command said “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our teammates who lost their lives today. As we honor their sacrifice, let’s also harden our resolve. Alongside our African and international partners, we will pursue those responsible for this attack and al-Shahaab who seeks to harm Americans and the U.S. interests. We remain committed to preventing al-Shabaab from maintaining a safe haven to plan deadly attacks against the US homeland, East African and international partners.”

According to Pentagon report, the Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked the Manda Bay military base using indirect and small arms fire. Upon entry into the military compound, Kenya Defense Forces and U.S. Africa Command were able to fight off the al-Shabaab terrorists. 

During the attack, six contractors-operated civilian aircraft were damaged.  A thorough investigations of the attack is underway.

The Manda Bay Airfield is a strategically important area used by U.S. forces whose task include providing training to African partners, responding to crosses and protecting U.S. interests in the region.

“The work that our U.S. forces are doing in East Africa bolsters partnerships, counter malign influence and maintains critical pressure on terrorists networks,” said Townsend. “Our efforts directly contribute to counterterrorism, maritime surveillance and intelligence sharing missions with our Kenyan partners. This activity enables enhanced security and stability in the region and for America.”

Restating U.S. commitment to African continent, Townsend said U.S.’ desire result “in East Africa is one in which terrorist organizations are not able to threaten the U.S. homeland, U.S. persons, international allies or destabilize the region.”