US Building Secret Drone Bases

Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011 11:00 AM

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The United States has put together a string of secret drone bases in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The bases are part of a new campaign to attack al-Qaida affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, The Washington Post reports.

One base has been established in Ethiopia and another in the Seychelles. The military also uses bases in Djibouti to fly drones over Somalia and Yemen and the CIA is constructing an airstrip in the Arabian Peninsula to deploy armed drones over Yemen.

The expansion of the drone campaign illustrates the concern the United States has over al-Qaida groups in Yemen and Somalia. U.S. drones have been used to carry out deadly attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

The Republic of Seychelles, an island nation of 85,000 people, has been host to a small fleet of MQ-9 Reaper drones since September 2009. Officials from the United States and the Seychelles have maintained the primary mission of the drones was to track pirates.

However, classified U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks show that the unmanned aircraft have also conducted counterterrorism missions over Somalia, according to the Post.



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