Reports from Mombasa overnight speak of a Kenyan military helicopter being shot down by Islamic militant Somali militias controlling the border region on the Somali side of the frontier. The helicopter crew managed to escape death but were injured and have since been airlifted to a military hospital. The helicopter, according to Kenyan sources, was clearly inside Kenyan territory, flying along the border to monitor and patrol the area known to be used for cross-border infiltration.
Somali militants have in the past even raided Kenyan villages along the border in search of supplies but have been regularly repelled (see related eTN article, “African Union lays into Eritrea”). Kenya has more recently established new forward bases for her military along the border with Somalia, while the border posts have been officially closed for the past several years by the Kenyan government.
Some of the militias are quoted to have openly declared their desire to create a greater Somalia by integrating areas in Ethiopia and Kenya into their fiefdom, and both Kenya and Ethiopia have, in the past, fought wars with Somalia to defend their territorial integrity in the Ogaden region and in what in the old days was called the “Northern Frontier District” in Kenya.
Official Kenyan military sources have confirmed the situation but refrained from confirming the cause of the crash.