There is a bit of a spat unfolding between the Kenyan military and Doctors Without Borders:
“Kenya’s military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir blamed an al-Shabab fighter for civilians deaths, saying he drove a truck of ammunition into the camp where it exploded. Chirchir says the air force hit the truck as it drove away from an al-Shabab training camp and it caught fire. He said it proceeded into the camp to use the refugees as a human shield from being bombed again.
Doctors Without Borders, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres or MSF, said 52 people were wounded, mostly women and children, when an aerial bombardment hit the camp for displaced people in the town of Jilib on Sunday. About 1,500 families had fled to the area amid Somalia’s famine earlier this year.”
Two important issues are emerging here. One is ability of the Kenya Defence Forces to conduct precision operations in civilian areas. That is a difficult task for even the most advanced military. However, failure to minimize civilian impact could fuel a capable al-Shabaab PR machine. I also expect to see increasing tension between NGOs and the greater counterterrorism effort. Neither of these issues will slow the offensive but they could slow the very long term process of bringing some degree stability to the area.
Recommended on Twitter: @MajorEChirchir. Major E. Chirchir. Kenya military spokesman. Not yet confirmed by Twitter but referenced in several media reports about the Major.