Kenyan troops crossed the border into Somalia yesterday in an attempt to crack down on militants suspected in a rash of kidnappings, residents say. A Kenyan official confirms to the BBC the country’s troops are targeting al-Shabab, the Somalia group suspected of crossing the border and seizing four Europeans and killing one over the past month. Witnesses report up to 40 Kenyan vehicles, as well as some tanks, carried hundreds of soldiers and towed “big guns” through the Somali border town of Dhobley yesterday.
There are also reports of Kenyan helicopters and fighter jets flying overhead, and the AP notes that a military helicopter crashed inside Kenya about 10 miles from the border late last night. A Somali diplomat at the UN says that if the reports are true, it would be “a very serious territorial intrusion” by Kenya. In response to the reported invasion, witnesses say al-Shabab is forcibly recruiting new fighters in the areas it controls.