(CNN) -- Foreign troops arrived Monday in the strategically and financially important Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain after a month of citizen protests, the Bahraini government said.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain's giant neighbor to the west, appears to have provided at least some of the troops, who arrived under the banner of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
In a statement, the government described the troops as "coalition forces" but did not say what countries were represented. Their mission was equally vague: "The GCC Peninsula Shield coalition forces arrived in the Kingdom of Bahrain today following recent events, to help protect the safety of citizens, residents and critical infrastructure," it said.
The Saudi state news agency said its government had responded to Bahrain's request for help in view of the importance of security there.
Anwar Mohammed Qerqash, the UAE minister for foreign affairs, described the move as part of his country's responsibility within the Gulf Cooperation Council to bring "security and stability to the region."
It was not clear how many foreign security troops had entered Bahrain. Various parts of the Bahraini government referred CNN questions to other government offices on Monday.
A witness said dozens of armored vehicles and buses full of soldiers crossed Monday afternoon from Saudi Arabia into Bahrain afternoon via the causeway linking the two countries.