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US shut down drone base in Ethiopia.

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

January 3, 2016 (ADDIS ABABA) - The US government has shut down its drone base at a remote civilian airport in southern Ethiopia from where it has been flying armed drones on counter-terrorism missions particularly in Somalia.

A US military drone (Source: CIA)

The base in Ethiopia's southern town of Arba Minch has recently been dismantled after Al-Qaeda affiliated militants are weaken and AMISOM forces re-took control to larger parts of the Somalia.

US embassy spokesperson David Kennedy on Sunday told reporters that it was shut down after bilateral consultations on current security situations in the volatile east African region.

"In our ongoing bilateral discussions on our defence cooperation, we reached a mutual decision that our presence in Arba Minch is not required at this time," Kennedy said.

"As we work with our African partners, our mutual needs change over time and a determination was made that our use of facilities in Arba Minch is no longer necessary," he added.

the Maerican diplomat said the military personnel who had been providing operational and technical support for security assistance programs has left the base.

Launched in 2011, the airfield in Arba Minch had been used by the US Air Force in its proxy war against an al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist militant group (Al Shabab) in neighbouring Somalia.

The US government has invested millions of dollars to advance and for expansion work of Arba Minch airport which is located around 450 kilometres south of the capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is a key security ally of the US particularly in the fight against Al-Shabab group. It has deployed thousands of troops to battle the militant group which had been a growing security threat of the region.

The US military has also deployed drones in Djibouti, used for secret attacks and surveillance missions.

Unlike other drone bases in Africa, the base in Djibouti is a permanent one where thousands of military personnel are stationed.

(ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Geographic Code:6SOMA
Date:Jan 4, 2016
Words:336
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