NAIROBI, Kenya -- Widely thought to possess the best military hardware in East Africa but little experience in conventional warfare, the Kenyan military had its moment in the sun after ejecting the al-Shabab terrorist group from neighboring southern Somalia. Now a backlash is in the works, as the region's biggest economy contemplates a homegrown terrorist threat from sympathizers of the al-Qaida-linked group.
After a string of kidnappings along their shared border, Kenyan forces crossed into Somalia in October 2011 as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a military grouping of five African states. By late-September 2012, the joint force had pushed al-Shabab from its stronghold in the port city of Kismayo. In a region wracked by putsches and intra-ethnic violence, the Kenyan armed forces' successful advance was unexpectedly rapid.
Since then a series of terrorist attacks at home have put Kenyans on edge.