US flying armed drones out of Ethiopia

2011-10-28 10:10
Washington - The US Air Force is flying armed drones from a civilian airport in southern Ethiopia as part of a growing battle against al-Qaeda linked Shabaab militants in Somalia, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The airfield in Arba Minch is part of a network of secret bases for unmanned aircraft in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula, the Post reported, citing unnamed US officials.

The US Air Force has spent millions of dollars to improve the airfield in Ethiopia to accommodate a fleet of Reaper drones that carry Hellfire missiles and precision-guided bombs, it said.

The US Air Force and the Pentagon declined to comment on the report.

Under President Barack Obama, the United States has increasingly turned to drones to carry out covert strikes against al-Qaeda and allied militants in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

The raids are conducted under the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency, not the military, but special operations forces and drone aircraft can be assigned to the spy agency for the strikes.

A spokesperson for the 17th Air Force, which is assigned to operations in Africa, told the Post the drone flights "will continue as long as the government of Ethiopia welcomes our cooperation on these varied security programs."

The United States and Ethiopia both view Islamist militants in Somalia as a threat, and Washington backed Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia in 2006.

In support of the Ethiopian incursion, US AC-130 gunships carried out attacks from a base in Ethiopia. The government however ended the arrangement once it became public.

Kenya sent forces into southern Somalia 12 days ago to chase Shabaab militants, but has denied the United States or other Western countries are actively involved in the military operations.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  kenya  |  somalia  |  ethiopia  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly


The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.