Troops Reprimanded After Deadly Al-Shabaab Attack on Kenya Base
A Pentagon review has confirmed an earlier U.S. Africa Command investigation that there was “no single point of failure” or any criminal negligence amid a 2020 al-Shabaab attack on a Kenya base that killed a U.S. service member and two contractors.
Overall, a review of the initial investigation by Africa Command into the Jan. 2, 2020, attack at Manda Bay, Kenya, by Army Gen. Paul Funk agreed that there was no criminal negligence or misconduct by U.S. personnel who were stationed at the naval base with Kenyan forces.
“I concurred that the proximate cause of the death of three U.S. citizens, injuries to three other U.S. citizens, and the loss of U.S. aircraft and property was the attack by a masked force of determined, disciplined and well-resourced al-Shabaab fighters,” said Funk, who is head of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.
Funk briefed reporters at the Pentagon about the review’s findings.
“No single point of failure directly caused the loss of life and damage to the property at Manda Bay,” he said. “My review found that neither criminal negligence nor misconduct by any U.S. personnel was the proximate cause of loss of life or property at cooperative security location Manda Bay.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accepted the review conclusions, effectively shutting the book on the stunning attack that killed Army Spc. Henry “Mitch” Mayfield Jr., 23, of Hazel Crest, Illinois; and two contractor pilots, Dustin Harrison, 47, and Bruce Triplett, 64.
Austin ordered the review last year to “ensure the department had a complete look at the causes of the attack,” Funk said.
The incident has led to new training requirements for all troops who deploy to Africa, where the U.S. is working with countries like Kenya and Somalia to root out extremist groups and militias.
About 30-40 al-Shabaab fighters launched mortars at the U.S. Camp Simba before attacking an airfield at Manda Bay, in what the Pentagon deemed a complex attack. The Africa terror group is the largest affiliate of al-Qaida, which was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“The first RPG penetrated the front windshield but did not explode,” he said. “The second RPG penetrated the driving side door and a moment later this device detonated, killing Spc. Mayfield instantly.”