October 28, 2011

Written by

The Bureau
This page is archived from original Bureau of Investigative Journalism reporting on US military actions in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia

The Bureau Recommends an article in the Washington Post, which reveals that the US Air Force has been secretly flying armed Reaper drones from a remote airbase in Ethiopia.

According to the report, millions of dollars have been spent on upgrading the airfield in Arba Minch, which now houses a fleet of drones that can be equipped with deadly Hellfire missiles. The base is located 300 miles south of Addis Ababa and 600 miles east of the border with Somalia.

Details of this Ethiopian base follow revelations by the Washington Post last month that the US is building a ‘constellation of secret drone bases’ in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It is understood that the Reapers began flying missions over Somalia earlier this year, targeting the al-Shabaab militant group who are linked to al-Qaeda.

Related article: Analysis: Has CIA changed its strategy in Pakistan drone war?

Confirming the operations from Arba Minch, Master Sgt. James Fisher of the 17th Air Force said on Thursday  that the aim was ‘to provide operation and technical support for our security assistance programs’ and that drone flights ‘will continue as long as the government of Ethiopia welcomes our cooperation on the varied security programs’.

To read the article in full click here.

The Bureau is conducting an ongoing investigation into all CIA drone activity. Click here to read the Covert Drone War study. For regular updates on drones and all our other stories, sign up to our newsletter, here