MOGADISHU, Somalia — Kenyan troops invaded Al Shabab’s last stronghold in Somalia on Friday, in a beach landing at Kismayo that appeared likely to deprive Islamist insurgents of their last big money-making enterprise.
African Union troops from Kenya, Uganda, and Burundi have combined over the last 18 months to drive Al Shabab out of the capital Mogadishu and take a series of smaller towns.
Al Shabab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, had earned money by collecting taxes on goods arriving at the Indian Ocean port, so the loss of the stronghold would be a double blow to the armed fundamentalist group.
Hardcore fighters may unleash suicide bombs and ambushes, but less dedicated fighters could melt back into their communities.
The African Union force said that some fighters have already indicated a desire to defect in recent days.