A Kenya Defence Forces airstrike has killed 53 Al-Shabaab terrorists, including a top commander believed to have been behind the January 15 El-Adde attack in Somalia.
The military said the terrorists were killed during an attack on the Nadaris camp in the neighbouring country on February 8.
Mahad Mohammed Karatey, aka Mahat Kataey, who was the head of Alamnyat, the Al-Shabaab intelligence wing, was killed together with 10 other middle-level commanders and 42 recruits who had just finished their training.
The Kenyan military spokesman, Colonel David Obonyo, yesterday said Karatey had gone to the Nadaris camp to preside over the passing out of an estimated 80 Alamnyat recruits who had completed their training and were due for deployment to carry out more terrorist attacks.
“It is confirmed that 42 recruits were also killed while many others sustained injuries,” Col Obonyo said in a statement.
The military yesterday said the 10-day delay in announcing Karatey’s death was due to efforts by informers to positively identify those killed.
After the attack, informers were sent to the area to carry out battle damage assessment and after days of spying, they confirmed that Karatey was among those killed.
Alamnyat comprises suicide bombers, assassins, explosive experts and information gatherers, and the killing of the overall commander is a major blow to the terrorist group.
The wing also provides logistics and support for operations throughout the Horn of Africa.
The military said it was believed that Karatey played a major role in the recent attack on Kenyan troops in El-Adde through the deployment of suicide bombers.
He is the second most senior commander to be killed after Abdi Dek, the operations commander of the Zubeir Brigade that carried out the attack against Kenyan forces.
Independent sources told the Nation that Karatey was smoked out using bombs dropped by aeroplanes, then shot dead by snipers as he attempted to escape in a vehicle.
The Nation learnt that special forces were sent to the area in advance and took positions around the camp, and lay in wait for hours before the airstrikes began.
A source further said the airstrikes scattered the terrorists who survived the bombs but were shot and killed by the camouflaged snipers.
By yesterday evening, there had not been any reaction or confirmation from the terrorist group.