Kenya: Us Govt Orders New Probe Into Attack On Manda Bay Military Base

Tight security at the entrance of Garissa University College on April 3, 2015, after Al-Shabaab militants attacked the University (file photo).

American troops who might not have done enough to stop an Al-Shabaab attack at the Manda Bay military Base in January last year could be punished after the US government ordered an independent investigation.

The assault, which was the deadliest attack on US troops in the East African region, was carried on January 5, 2020, leading to the deaths of three Americans.

"After considering the investigation report, Secretary (Lloyd J.) Austin directed the Acting Secretary of the Army to appoint a four-star general officer to conduct an independent review of the USAFRICOM investigation (and any ongoing inquiries or investigations of USAFRICOM's subordinate commands)... " the US Department of Defence announced on Tuesday in a statement.

The Acting Secretary of the Army has appointed US Army General Paul Funk, the Commanding General of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), to conduct the review.

Conducting any investigation

Other than conducting any investigation, which might seem appropriate, General Funk has been given the powers "to serve as the Consolidated Disposition Authority (CDA) for any appropriate disciplinary actions related to the attack."

The orders mean that troops who might have let their guard down will eventually be punished.

Initially, the Americans seemed to have blamed Kenyan troops for not doing enough to protect the military base claiming that Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) men hid in the bushes during the military offensive. KDF denied the claims.

The US Secretary of Defense ordered an independent investigation after completing an initial review of the U.S. Africa Command's (USAFRICOM's) investigation into the attack.

"An independent review will provide added insight, perspective, and the ability to assess the totality of this tragic event involving multiple Military Services and Department of Defense components. It is the Secretary's desire to ensure there is a full examination and consideration of the contributing factors that led to this tragic event and that appropriate action is taken to reduce the risk of future occurrence. The families impacted deserve nothing less," the statement adds.

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