Washington increased its drone fleet to 7 000 units in Africa, and opened a new drone base in an airport in Southern Ethiopia.

Along with two other drone bases located in Djibouti (Camp Lemonier) and on the Seychelles Islands, in the Indian Ocean, the new base in Ethiopia increases the mobility of the unmanned planes which are the main war instrument of the Pentagon and the CIA to launch an air attack against Al Shabab, in the Horn of Africa.

Drones currently flying over Somalia are departing from a base located at a civil airport in Arba Minch, a city in Southern Ethiopia. These planes, known as MQ-9 Reaper (maximum speed 370 km per hour and a price tag of some 38 million Euros) [1], can carry Hellfire missiles, though they are being used only for spying so far. These drones are very efficient in recording images and communications.

According to the New America Foundation, drone attacks have caused this year between 350 and 500 civilian victims in Pakistan alone. Washington does not admit to using such planes to carry out missile attacks.

Source: http://lchirino.wordpress.com/

[1] “The age of the Reaper”, by Pepe Escobar, Voltaire Network, 23 September 2011.