Kenya has downplayed al-Shabaab attack on its soil following statement by the group vowing to stage more raids in the East Africa nation.
The move came hours after al-Shabaab terror group stated it will continue attacking Kenya until Nairobi withdraws its troops from Somalia.
The militant group also threatened to attack tourism sector of the nation which is third income generating of the East African Nation.
“Withdraw all your forces from our Muslim lands while you still have the chance. Otherwise brace yourselves for the worst and prepare for perilous times ahead, because Kenya will never be safe and Kenyans will never sleep soundly at night,” said the group in a statement posted on its affiliate online media. “Tourists and travellers visiting the country are hereby warned that there will no longer be any safe sightseeing or safari trips in Kenya.”
Responding to the threats by the group, Kenya Interior ministry said the security agencies stepped up security and are on the heels of the militants.
“The group has not strength execute terror attacks any more but this is part of their propoganda and its attempts to create fear, we have carried out measures to beef up the security of the country,” the statement reads in part.
New operations in Boni
The statement further noted that government put in place plans to smoke out al-Shabaab and sympathisers from coastal areas and Boni.
“Despite the minor issues which are taking place here and there, the overall security is stable. There is operation to hunt down terror elements and those helping them with information and place to hide,” the ministry vowed.
Kenya sent its troops to Somalia in 20011 following several terror attacks in northeastern region and abductions in coast region.
A year later, the military forces of the East Africa nation in Somalia were allowed to be part of African Union Mission in Somalia.
Kenya forces who are operating under the framework of AMISOM are based in Gedo and Lower Jubba regions of southern Somalia.
Call for attacks on US
The terror group also called for more attack on US and its interests in the region.
Al-shabaab urged its sympathisers to help the group fight US, calling its members to “make US interests in Kenya their primary target”.
The group said its attack on Camp Simba in Lamu county of Kenya’s coastal region on Sunday was warning for both US and Kenya.
The attack on Simba camp has caused the death of three US nationals and the destruction of number of planes.
US troops began operations at Camp Simba in 2017, performing counter-terrorism and border security operations to aid Kenya, according to a US Air Force in the region.
It essentially became a permanent US military installation on August 26, 2019, when the American flag was raised over the facility in what the Air Force said signified its “change from tactical to enduring operations.”
Not revenge for US attack on Iranian general
Both US and al-Shabaab ruled of Simba camp attack having link to Iran with some analysts suggest that al-Shabaab is far from extending support hand to Iran as the group is a Sunni Muslim. On its side, US also cast doubt on the possibility of Iran direct involvement in the attack.
AP news agency has quoted the al-Shabaab spokesman in Middle East on condition of anonymity for security reasons saying “No, this attack was no way related to that incident (US airstrike which killed Iranian general, Qassim Suleimani in Iraq).”
The call by the group comes on the heel of new operations by Somali military and US military against the group in Somalia.
A day Simba camp attack, in cooperation with Somali forces, US military bombed al-Shabaab bases in southern Somalia.
Al-Shabaab which once controlled large swathes of southern and central Somalia including the capital lost to Somali military backed by AMISOM forces.