Why Kenyans Want An Apology From New York Times

By BRUHAN MAKONG | Capital News

A section of Kenyans now want the New York Times to apologize over its report of the Jan 5, 2020 Al-Shabaab attack on Manda Bay which said that Kenyan forces “hid in the grass” during the assault on the camp which hosted both Kenyan and US troops.

Kenyans on different social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, say that a recently released review on the attack, led by the United States Africa Command released by Pentagon is a clear testimony that Kenyan troops were more involved towards pacifying the situation.

“Surprised by the attack, American commandos took around an hour to respond. Many of the local Kenyan forces, assigned to defend the base, hid in the grass while other American troops and support staff were corralled into tents, with little protection, to wait out the battle,” New York times said in its report dated Jan 22, 2020.

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However, the recent findings of U.S. Africa Command’s Army Regulation 15-6 investigation and the Secretary of Defense-directed independent review of events released on Mar 10 revealed that the “proximate cause of the loss of life and damage to property was the attack by a massed force of 30 to 40 determined, disciplined, and well-resourced al-Shabaab fighters.”

“The investigation and independent review further found that no single point of failure resulted in the loss of life and damage to property, and no single act or omission would have avoided the attack,” US Defense department said.

On Thursday the US AFRICOM) awarded three Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Service Personnel with the Joint Service Commendation medals for their heroic actions during the attack, which Kenyans say shows that the KDF troops and US forces worked together in fighting the Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group.

The US AFRICOM Director of Operations Major General Gregory Anderson awarded Colonel Daniel Rotich, Major Martin Muthaura and Corporal Peter Shikuri with the awards for their swift response in countering and thwarting the terrorists that had attacked Camp Simba in Manda, that hosts KDF and US military.

The attack in Camp Simba located in Cooperative Security Location (CSL)in Manda Bay left three Americans dead and a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) officer injured.

The victims included one U.S. Army Soldier, Specialist Henry J. Mayfield, and two U.S. contract personnel identified as Bruce Triplett and Dustin Harrison.

 The attack which was described as complex also wounded three additional U.S. personnel to the US Department of Defense.

The report on the Independent Review of the USAFRICOM15-6 Investigation revealed that the damages resulting from the attack are estimated at over 90 million US dollars.

According to the report the financial losses consist of six U.S aircrafts which were destroyed in the early minutes of the attack.

Additional damage to U.S equipment, vehicles, infrastructure amount to another 10 million dollars.

“These costs are initial rough estimates provided by the various contractors operating out of the CSL Manda Bay,’’ the report read in part.

However, the cost of destroyed Kenyan aircraft was not listed.

The Defence Department said that following the attack, “U.S. Africa Command directed a series of measures to improve force protection at all locations on the continent and it continues to implement improvements to force protection, intelligence sharing, security force preparation, and mission command as identified by the 15-6 and independent review.”

U.S. forces use CSL Manda Bay to provide training to African partners, respond to crises and protect U.S. interests.