October 28, 2011
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 Shabab militants in Somalia, the Washington Post reported 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.