Kenya: Lamu Flights Cancelled After Shabaab Attack, Five Arrested

5 January 2020

All passenger flights to Lamu have been cancelled following indefinite closure of the Manda airstrip, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has said.

KCAA Director General Capt Gilbert Kibe confirmed the move, which comes hours after the airstrip was invaded by Al Shabaab fighters targeting the adjacent military base used by American and Kenyan soldiers.

"We have suspended civilian aircrafts to that airstrip indefinitely. We are accessing disruption and would advise over its opening later," Captain Kibe told the Nation.

The closure will affect local and international passengers who use the facility to travel to the Lamu Archipelago.

Affected airlines include Fly 540, Skyward Express, Fly Sax and Air Kenya.

In a statement, Fly 540 notified its customers of the move.

"Please note that the Manda Airport - Lamu has been closed till further notice," its said in a statement Sunday morning.

Skyward Express on its part said: "We regret to inform passengers travelling with us in and out of Lamu that the airport has been closed until further notice."

ARRESTS

This comes as Lamu county commissioner Irungu Macharia confirmed that five people have been arrested in connection with the dawn attack.

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed the attack on the coastal base that houses some of its military personnel at Manda Bay.

"(AFRICOM) ... is monitoring the situation. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the incident. As facts and details emerge, we will provide an update," it said via its official Twitter account.

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