The United States is building a series of secret drone bases in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula to launch an aggressive campaign against al-Qaida-linked groups in Somalia and Yemen, a Washington based newspaper reported Tuesday night. One of the bases for the Drones will be based in Ethiopia according to the report.
Ethiopia is a strong U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism and the drone base will be used to launch attacks against al-Shabab, the Somali militant group that controls much of Somalia. The U.S has been trying to build the drone base in Ethiopia for over four years, but “the Ethiopians were not all that jazzed.” said a US official.
“We have a lot of interesting cooperation and arrangements with the Ethiopians when it comes to intelligence collection and linguistic capabilities,” a former senior U.S. military official familiar with special operations missions in the region said.
The report also said, the United States relies on Ethiopian linguists to translate signals intercepts gathered by U.S. agencies monitoring calls and e-mails of al-Shabab members. The CIA and other agencies also employ Ethiopian agents who gather information from across the border.