Thomas Evans, a 25-year-old resident of the United Kingdom, is believed to be among the 11 al-Shabab militants killed by Kenyan security forces near an army base in Baure, close to the border with Somalia, on Sunday, according to media reports. If confirmed, his death will be the first reported case of a British militant being killed on Kenyan soil.
“All the available data, including photographs, points to it being Thomas Evans. There is an investigation going on with forensics and DNA to confirm his identity,” David Obonyo, a spokesman for the Kenyan defense forces, reportedly said.
The British national -- a Muslim convert who also went by the name Abdul Hakim -- is believed to have been part of a group of militants that launched a pre-dawn raid on Sunday on the army base in Baure. Two Kenyan soldiers were also killed in the ensuing gun battle, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
While militants affiliated to al-Shabab confirmed that an attack in which “many Kenyan soldiers were killed” had been launched on the army base, they did not provide details of any fatalities within their ranks, Reuters reported.
Currently, at least 50 Britons -- including the notorious “White Widow” Samantha Lewthwaite -- are believed to be fighting alongside the al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia.
Al-Shabab, which seeks to overthrow the Somali government and impose its strict interpretation of Sharia law, has frequently targeted Kenya in recent years, allegedly in response to Kenya’s decision to participate in an African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.
In April, in one of the group’s deadliest attacks to date, al-Shabab militants raided a university in the Kenyan city of Garissa, killing nearly 150 people, most of them students. Earlier, in September 2013, militants belonging to the group had killed at least 67 people in an attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall.