US Issues Warning to Planes Flying in Kenya

  • The US has issued a new warning to civilian planes flying in the Kenyan airspace over threats of attacks by Al-Shabaab.

    In an advisory, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated that the militia group had publicly declared their intent to conduct attacks in retaliation to Kenya’s counterterrorism operations in Somalia.

    "Due to cross-border extremist/militant attacks originating in Somalia, there is continuing risk to U.S. civil aviation flying into, out of, within, or over the territory and airspace of Kenya," the advisory issued on February 26 stated.

    The regulatory agency noted that the militia possesses, or has access to, a variety of weapons, including small arms; indirect fire weapons, such as mortars and rockets; and anti-aircraft-capable weapons, including man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS).

    Al-Shabaab militants conduct military drills at a base in Somalia.
    Al-Shabaab militants conduct military drills at a base in Somalia.
    File

    "Such weapons present a risk to civil aircraft operating at low altitudes, including during the arrival and departure phases of flight and/or to airports and aircraft on the ground, especially at remote airfields 

    "Exercise caution during flight operations due to the possibility of attacks by extremists/militants on civil aviation," the FAA added.

    The agency referenced the attack on Camp Simba, which is co-located within the Manda Bay area (HKLU) on January 5, 2020.

    The attack destroyed or damaged multiple aircraft, demonstrating the group’s intent and capabilities to target the aviation sector. 

    Kenya is part of a peace-keeping squad under the African Union mission.

    "Al Shabaab may be emboldened following the announced U.S. withdrawal of forces from Somalia," the agency added.

    In neighboring Somalia, al-Shabaab has conducted multiple attacks targeting civil aviation, including indirect fire attacks on Aden Adde International Airport (HCMM) and remote airfields where international troops are collocated.

    FAA added that the attacks demonstrated capabilities al-Shabaab could further employ in the Kenya-Somalia border region and the coastal region of Kenya adjacent to Somalia.

    Brigadier Jeff Nyagah (left) and Brigadier Paul Njema (right) during a parade inspection at AMISOM Sector II Headquarters in Dhobley in February 2021
    Brigadier Jeff Nyagah (left) and Brigadier Paul Njema (right) during a parade inspection at AMISOM Sector II Headquarters in Dhobley in February 2021
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