The U.S. military’s Africa Command is seeking new authorities to carry out armed drone strikes in Kenya targeting Al- Shabab fighters.
The new authorities, which must still be approved by US Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and then President Trump means the United States will start carrying out drone attacks in Kenya.
Sources privy to Pentagon dealings says the move traces back the the January Shabab attack on a military base in Kenya that housed United States troops.
The attack on the airfield at Manda Bay killed three Americans and caused millions of dollars in damage.
According to New York Times, Kenyan military officials did not cover their counterparts-U.S. commanders. Allegations that President Uhuru Kenyatta rubbished
US Military officials responded that they lacked guidelines to conduct drone strikes in Kenya should Shabab attack there or any other place again.
Col. Christopher P. Karns, the command’s chief spokesman, declined to comment on the new authorities.
Lt. Col. Anton T. Semelroth, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email that the U.S. military will defend U.S. personnel, citizens and homeland as necessary anywhere in the world. He also did not address the new guidelines.
Pentago sources speaking to cnyakundi.com on the condition of anonymity said the draft guidelines would theoretically authorize not only drone strikes in self-defense of American troops or collective self-defense of partnered Kenyan forces, but also offensive strikes intended to pre-empt a suspected threat.
It simply means, US Intelligence officials can authorize a drone attack if they uncover intelligence about preparations at a compound to assemble an IUD or any other bomb.
KDF officials have also not commended on the guidelines a move that our sources says that officials did not expect the KDF to prompt the United States to carry out frequent drone strikes.
The draft plan was said to contain limitations among them, the military would be permitted to conduct strikes only in a portion of Kenya one specifically identified the potential strike zone as Garissa and Lamu Counties.
Military officials speaking to this writer said, in their personal opinion, that this was different from Somalia, whose provisional government has essentially given the United States blanket permission to carry out strikes when it sees fit.
It is reported that President Uhuru Kenyatta had, during the White House visit in February, asked President Trump to allow American military to expand authorities by consulting with the U.S. ambassador in Kenya.
The Kenyan Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to our requests for comment.
“We need to do whatever’s necessary to defend American lives and interests, but that doesn’t require starting a drone war in Kenya without consulting Congress and using a war authorization that’s two decades old,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, referring to the 2001 law Congress passed authorizing strikes against Al Qaeda.
This is coming at a time China had been given a go ahead to set up their fully equipped Military command base in Kenya.
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