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One U.S. Soldier, Two Contractors Killed in Kenya Raid

David Malingha, Mohammed Omar Ahmed and Laura Litvan

(Bloomberg) -- One U.S. soldier and two defense contractors were killed Sunday in an al-Qaeda-linked raid on a joint defense facility in Kenya, authorities said. Two more service members were wounded and have been evacuated.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our teammates who lost their lives today,” U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command, said in a statement.

Earlier, the Kenyan army said it stopped the Sunday morning raid on a base it uses with the U.S. in the coastal county of Lamu, killing at least four attackers from the al-Shabaab Islamist group. “We remain committed to preventing al-Shabaab from maintaining a safe haven,” Townsend said.

On the same day, authorities arrested three people attempting to forcibly enter a British army training base in the central town of Nanyuki, Nairobi-based Daily Nation reported Monday, citing the police. It didn’t mention a link between the incidents.

An attempt was made to breach security at Manda airstrip early Sunday but was “successfully repulsed,” KenyaDefence Forces said on its Facebook page. “Four terrorist bodies have so far been found. The airstrip is safe.”

“Although this attack shows a clear intent to continue targeting the United States’ presence in the region, the United States continues to stand in strong partnership with Kenya,” Representative Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

The Manda Bay raid comes less than a week after a U.S. airstrike killed three members of al-Shabaab, which is based in neigbouring Somalia and claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.

Senator Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he’s hopeful the attack will lead the panel to convene a hearing to examining the Trump administration’s policy in the region later this month.

“As we await further information on the specifics of this latest attack, it is clear that despite U. S. and international efforts to contain al-Shabaab, this terror organization remains a significant and active threat,” Menendez said in a statement.

(Updates with arrests at British training base in fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: David Malingha in Nairobi at dmalingha@bloomberg.net;Mohammed Omar Ahmed in Garowe at mahmed76@bloomberg.net;Laura Litvan in Washington at llitvan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John McCorry at jmccorry@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny, Hilton Shone

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