Up to 120 US military personnel are operating out of two secret drone bases in Somalia, carrying out attacks on Al-Shabab militants and working with African Union peacekeepers, a new report has revealed.
Somali officials have confirmed a secretive US presence in the
southern port city of Kismayo, according to Foreign Policy
correspondent Ty McCormick. Another base, at the airfield of
Baledogle near Mogadishu, is being used for both drone strikes
and for contractors training Somali security forces.
Regional administration official Abdighani Abdi Jama told
McCormick that as many as 40 US personnel conduct
“intelligence” and “counterterrorism”
operations and operate drones from their base at Kismayo airport,
about 300 miles south of Mogadishu. Somali officials and sources
within the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) also
indicated a similar presence at Baledogle, in the Lower Shebelle
Washington has not officially admitted to operating drones from
Somali territory, with drone flights said to originate from US
bases in the neighboring Djibouti, and outposts in Kenya and
Ethiopia. The US also has an outpost in the Seychelles, an
archipelago some 800 miles off the Somali coast.