US drone bases in Africa to focus on ‘al-Qaida’ targets and Somalian Pirates

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Xan Rice

September 22, 2011

A network of drone bases in east Africa, designed to carry out attacks on al-Qaida targets and for gathering intelligence, is being constructed by the US, according to American reports.

One base is being set up in Ethiopia, a key US ally in the Horn of Africa, the Washington Post said. Another installation has reopened in the Seychelles after a test “anti-piracy” programme proved unmanned “hunter-killer” craft could effectively patrol Somalia from there.

Drones flown from a US military site in Djibouti have already been used in counter-terrorism missions in Somalia and Yemen. A new base to enable more flights over Yemen is under construction in the Arabian peninsula.

The launch of the aggressive campaign around the Horn of Africa reflects increasing concern about the dangers posed by al-Qaida-linked affiliates in the region.

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