America’s FAA warns of Al-Shabaab’s terror plot in Kenyan airspace

A terrorist with a rocket-propelled grenade. [Photo: Reuters]

The US government has warned Kenya of an impending Al-Shabaab attack in its airspace.

America’s Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) asked civilian airlines to be cautious as Al-Shabaab is in possession of deadly arsenal that can destroy an aircraft flying at low altitudes of up to 25,000 feet.

FAA stated that some of the heavy weapons in Al-Shabaabs possession include rockets, mortars and man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

This puts flights entering and leaving airports and airstrips at high risk of a terror attack especially those en route to and from Somalia.

FAA in the February 26, 2021 extended the warning to major airlines with connecting flights in Nairobi plying China, Dubai and other countries in the East.

In addition, planes flying over terror-prone areas such as Garissa have also been asked to be cautious.

FAA warned that besides Al-Shabaab targeting Kenyan security forces and civilians; the Somali-based militant group is also targeting people with western interests in Kenya.

This is in light of the January 5, 2020 joint US-Kenya military base, Camp Simba in Manda Bay, Lamu.

“The January 5, 2020, complex attack on Camp Simba, which is co-located with Manda Bay Airport (HKLU), destroyed or damaged multiple aircraft, demonstrating the group’s intent and capabilities to target the aviation sector,” the advisory added.

The Northeastern part of Kenyan which borders Somalia and Lamu which also borders Somalia, there have been reports of botched terror attacks in the last couple of months.

Security apparatus in these regions have remained on high alert.

Over the last three months, there are reports of several terror raids by Al-Shabaab which were targeting the aviation industry, the recent one being that on Aden Adde International Airport (HCMM).

HCMM is one of the airfields largely used by international troops who are on a peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

FAA said US’ civil aviation remains a prime target for Al-Shabaab as a revenge mission following the indictment of Cholo Abdi Abdullah, a Kenyan charged with six counts of terrorism in the US.

Abdullah was at the height of his plan to hijack a US plan 9/11 style but was arrested. He was indicted in December 2020.