US military seeks approval for drone strikes against terrorists in KenyaDevdiscourse News Desk | Nairobi | Updated: 17-09-2020 12:17 IST | Created: 17-09-2020 12:17 IST
The United States military is seeking approval to launch covert drone strikes against terrorists from its base in Kenya, according to a news report by The Standard.
If granted, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) will target Al-Shabab insurgents in eastern Kenya, especially Garissa and Lamu counties, said the report quoting four senior but unnamed American officials.
The request for the new strike authorities follows the January 5 attack at Manda Bay, Lamu, when militants overran an airfield and killed three American commandos.
A drone offensive was approved during the brazen Manda attack, the Times reported but was not used as the militants escaped by retreating to their Somalia territory.
Under the proposed deal, AFRICOM now hopes to get its guidelines in order should Al Shabab, an al-Qaida linked group, attack again.
The drone warfare will not only be used in self-defense of American troops or collective self-defense of partnered Kenyan forces but also an offensive to neutralize potential threats.
The authority is subject to approval by the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and then President Donald Trump who is keen on relaxing limits on drone strikes and raids outside conventional battlefields.
Kenyan authorities will also have to green light flying attack drones in its territory. This is a deviation from countries like Somalia who have allowed the US to fly drones when they so choose.