NAIROBI: Kenya’s army said today it had killed the intelligence chief of the Shebab insurgents and 10 other commanders in an air strike in Somalia.
The US government had placed a USD 5 million bounty on the head of spy chief Mahad Karate, with Kenya celebrating what it called a “major blow” to the Al-Qaeda-linked group.
Kenyan troops, part of an African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) fighting the insurgents, claimed to have killed Karate, a top commander also responsible for internal security, in an air strike at a Shebab training camp earlier this month.
Karate — head of the Shebab’s Amniyat unit, a special security wing responsible for intelligence, attacks and assassinations — is said to have been involved in plotting the 2015 massacre of 148 people at Garissa university in northeastern Kenya.
“The killing… is a major blow to the terrorist group,” army spokesman David Obonyo said in a statement.
“The Kenya Defence Forces, under AMISOM operations, would like to confirm that Mahad Mohammed Karate… and 10 other middle level commanders were killed in a major KDF strike,” in southern Somalia on February 8, Obonyo said.
The claims could not be independently verified, and there was no immediate reaction from the Shebab.
But the 10-day delay in announcing Karate’s death suggests thorough efforts to identify the remains were carried out.