Kenyan troops are pouring into southern Somalia today, in an offensive they say will be targeted at the al-Shabaab militant faction that controls the region near the border. The move comes a day after reports of a significant military buildup along the border.
So far there are limited details about the operation, but a Kenyan military helicopter reportedly crashed after catching fire from a “mechanical malfunction.” The fate of those on board was not known.
Al-Shabaab condemned the invasion, saying that the Kenyan troops would face the “pain of bullets.” They also promised to commit forces to resist the invasion, while urging locals on radio stations to take up arms against the Kenyans.
The self-proclaimed Somali government said they welcomed “logistical support” from Kenya but did not need Kenyan ground troops to tackle al-Shabaab. The position was an odd one since the Somali TFG has not been particularly effective in fighting al-Shabaab, even with military support from the African Union.