US Military Base at Camp Simba Manda Bay in Lamu [PHOTOS]

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  • The US military's longstanding and ever-expanding presence in Africa is characterised by low profile military posts dotting the continent.

    One such facility is Camp Simba, Manda Bay - located in Lamu, Kenya which was established in 2004.

    Serving as a Forward Operating Location (FOL), Manda Bay's primary function is as a centre for training exercises with Kenya’s naval special forces and a base for Special Operations Forces (SOF) operations in Somalia.

    US Military personnel at Camp Simba, Manga Bay.

    The camp plays an integral role in the secret drone assassination program aimed at militants in neighbouring Somalia as well as in Yemen.

    A US national at Camp Simba, Manga Bay, Lamu.

    Since its establishment, the unit has run more than sixteen courses in anti-piracy, illegal fishing, human trafficking, explosive detonation, vessel boarding, search and seizure.

    Strategically situated along the Kenyan coast and roughly 100 Kilometres from the border with Somalia, the camp started off as a small affair but received significant expansion over the years.

    The camp has featured in a number of books including former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens who served there in 2005.

    In his memoir, The heart and The Fist, the former Navy Seal described the Bay as being no larger than two football fields

    “Our compound was centered around a small house that had once been in shambles—broken roof, smashed walls, trees growing through the floor—but was now, after several deployments of special warfare personnel, structurally sound with a new red roof and a fresh coat of white paint.

    "Surrounding the main house stood five khaki-colored, ten-man tents that hummed with small air conditioning units used to keep them cool at night. In addition to this compound the base consisted of a small jetty and a rudimentary runway of barely 3,000 feet cut out of the jungle," he wrote.

    Sleeping quarters at Camp Simba, Manga Bay.

    He further detailed the intricacies of accessing fresh produce. In his recollection, they had no fresh fruit adding that "we ate peaches soaked in syrup packaged in MRE bags."

    In 2012, the station got an upgrade with a host of improvements completed and under construction at the time including a new dining facility, extra fuel storage tanks, a new well and expanded water storage, and new power generators.

    Satellite images show physical transformation of the base from 2004 to 2014.

    The Navy further spent millions to improve the road network of the base and lengthening the runway to enable larger aircraft like C-130s to land there.

    Military personnel at Camp Simba, Manga Bay.

    In 2014, former US ambassador to Kenya Bob Godec handed over the Anti-Terrorist Assistance (ATA) unit, Kiboko Camp, to then Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Amb Dr. Monica Juma.

    Amb. (Dr.) Monica Juma and the official from the US Embassy Marian Cotter signing symbolic transfer documents of the handover.