State Department offers $10 million reward for terrorists who attacked US personnel

The Pentagon is seen in Virginia.
The Pentagon is seen in Virginia. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

State Department offers $10 million reward for terrorists who attacked US personnel

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The State Department is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that could lead to the arrest or conviction of an al-Shabaab leader who was responsible for planning the January 2020 Manda Bay attack that left three Americans dead.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 5, 2020, al-Shabaab fighters launched mortar fire on a Kenyan Defense Forces installation and Camp Simba while they simultaneously assaulted the airfield. There were 30 to 40 terrorists involved in the attack. U.S. Army Spc. Henry Mayfield Jr. and two contractors, Bruce Triplett and Dustin Harrison, were killed.

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The department’s Reward for Justice (RFJ) program announced the new $10 million reward on Thursday, specifically naming Maalim Ayman, whom they said is the leader of Jaysh Ayman, an al-Shabaab unit that has conducted terror attacks in Kenya and Somalia, as the person who planned the January 2020 attack.

Investigators found that while there was no criminal behavior that created the conditions that allowed the attack to happen, there was a culture of complacency on the base. Eight airmen were disciplined, however, following the conclusion of two concurrent investigations into the Manda Bay attack.

“We were not as prepared at Manda Bay as we needed to be,” Gen. Stephen Townsend, the then-head of Africa Command, said in a video presentation of the findings at the Pentagon in March.

“In addition to determining that the al-Shabaab attack was the proximate cause of the deaths and injuries to U.S. personnel and the property loss, the USAFRICOM investigation found four causal factors that contributed to the outcome of the January 5, 2020, attack,” Air Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said in a statement at that time. “Those factors included an inadequate force protection focus; an inadequate understanding of the threat; inadequate security force preparation; and problems with mission command, including poor unity of command at the tactical level.”

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Townsend, who has since retired, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in mid-March that al Shabab “has only grown stronger and bolder over the past year,” while “deadly terrorism has metastasized to Africa.”

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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