By. Muhammad Nazarudin
Washington – U.S. administration is assembling a secret base for unmanned aircraft in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The base is designed for counter-terrorism operations to hunt Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia and Yemen, according to the Washington Post reported on Wednesday (21 / 9).
One of the installations are being established in Ethiopia, a U.S. ally in the war against al-Shabab, the militant group that controls much of Somalia’s state. Other bases in the Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. From there, a small fleet of drones “hunter-killer” began to resume operations this month. Previously, an experimental mission showed the drone could do patrol effectively from Somalia region.
The U.S. military also has been flying drones over the territory of Somalia and Yemen from bases in Djibouti, a small African country at the junction of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. In addition, the CIA is building a secret air base in the Arabian Peninsula, so it can deploy unmanned aircraft over Yemen.
Rapid expansion of the war drone reflect U.S. concerns on the activities of Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen and Somalia, although the core leadership of al-Qaeda in Pakistan have been weakened by U.S. counter-terrorism operations.
The U.S. government has so far been using unmanned aircraft to carry out deadly attacks in at least six countries, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Negotiating the establishment of air bases in the Republic of Seychelles describe U.S. efforts to expand the coverage area of unmanned aircraft.
Republic of Seychelles, an archipelago with a population of just 85,000 people, already has a U.S. base for a small fleet of unmanned MQ-9 Reaper, which is operated by Navy and U.S. Air Force since September 2009.
U.S. officials and the Seychelles have previously acknowledged the existence of the drone, but said that their main mission is to track down pirates.
However, the U.S. secret diplomatic cables showing that unmanned aircraft have also been doing counterterrorism missions in Somalia, about 800 miles northwest of the Seychelles.
The cable, which was leaked WikiLeaks site, it is revealed that U.S. officials asked the leader of Seychelles to keep it secret counterterrorism missions.
MQ-9 Reaper himself as a U.S. military plane dubbed “hunter-killer” because can be equipped with “Hellfire missile” and bombs guided by satellites.