Rewards for Justice is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on Maalim Ayman and any other individual responsible for the January 5, 2020, terrorist attack on Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya. The Manda Bay facility is a Kenya Defense Forces military base utilized by U.S. armed forces to provide training and counterterrorism support to East African partners, respond to crises, and protect U.S. interests in the region.
In the pre-dawn hours, al-Shabaab militants launched mortar rounds at the Kenyan and U.S. positions inside the base and simultaneously fired rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and small arms at the adjacent Manda Bay Airfield. Two DoD contractor pilots, both U.S. citizens, were killed when their military aircraft was hit by RPGs on the tarmac of the airfield. A third DoD contractor, also a U.S. citizen, survived the explosion with serious injuries. A U.S. Army specialist acting as an air traffic controller was killed in the ensuing firefight, and two other U.S. citizen service members were injured.
In a video subsequently released by al-Shabaab’s official Shahada News Agency, a spokesperson for the group claimed responsibility for the attack.
Maalim Ayman, the leader of Jaysh Ayman, an al-Shabaab unit conducting terrorist attacks and operations in Kenya and Somalia, was responsible for preparing the January 2020 attack. In November 2020, the Department of State designated Ayman as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.
Al-Shabaab — al-Qa’ida’s principal affiliate in East Africa — is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in Kenya, Somalia, and neighboring countries that have killed thousands of people, including U.S. citizens. The Department of State designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in March 2008. In April 2010, al-Shabaab was also designated by the UNSC’s Somalia Sanctions Committee pursuant to paragraph 8 of resolution 1844 (2008).