US shuts down drone operation in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — The U.S. government has shut down its drone operation base in southern Ethiopia, an embassy official announced.

A decision has been reached that the base in Arba Minch, 450 kilometers (280 miles) south of Addis Ababa, is no longer necessary, embassy spokesman David Kennedy told The Associated Press by email.

“U.S. military personnel are no longer in Arba Minch,” Kennedy said. “In our ongoing bilateral discussions on defense cooperation, we reached a mutual decision that our presence in Arba Minch is not required at this time.”

Ethiopian media reported about the base when it was set up in 2011 but the U.S. has never publicly confirmed its existence. A security expert in Addis Ababa, who insisted on anonymity for fear of Ethiopian government reprisal, said the base was used to attack Islamic extremists in Somalia.

Ethiopia is a staunch U.S. ally in East Africa and has sent hundreds of troops to Somalia to counter the Islamic extremist rebel group. Although Ethiopia has a history of human rights, it is also a key U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists in the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia had troops in Somalia between 2006 and 2009 to defeat extremists. Ethiopia redeployed its troops to Somalia in 2011 to combat al-Shabab. Al-Shabab, al-Qaida’s East African affiliate, is fighting the internationally-backed Somali government. The rebels were pushed out of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 with the help of African Union troops. But al-Shabab still carries out numerous guerrilla attacks in Somalia and the countries contributing A.U. troops, including Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda.

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Posted by on January 4, 2016. Filed under NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to US shuts down drone operation in Ethiopia

  1. ኣበባየሁ

    January 4, 2016 at 5:11 PM

    In a country such as Ethiopia where a little piece of land is a valuable source of life for many, it is absurd for developed countries to possess a land to do things where they can do from elsewhere.

    Another huge land the international community need to let go is the http://WWW.ILRI.ORG compound located in the heart of Addis Ababa which is estimated to be 10 times the size of EAL Addis Ababa International Airport.

    ILRI has brought a lot of good not only to Ethiopia but to science and livestock knowledge for scientists everywhere. In Ethiopia, for example, partners at Debre Berhan Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York have worked since 2007 to strengthen Debre Berhan’s capacity to provide medical and psychosocial care for people living with HIV. Located 143 kilometers northwest of Addis Ababa, Debre Berhan cares for a large number of HIV-positive patients. As a result of the partnership, Debre Berhan created the position of nursing supervisors to oversee nursing education and introduced 8-hour shift schedules to improve care quality and efficiency.If you are saying does ILRI need to hold all that land in Addis Ababa? the answer is NO . Anyone that seen the inside of ILRI compound in Addis Ababa can testify there are huge empty fields within the compound. Maybe 1/5th of the total land is put to use. The rest is empty field the size can be between 2 or 3 times the size of the current international airport in Addis Ababa. So reducing the total size of ILRI should be an option but that don’t mean ILRI didn’t bring any good so far.

  2. Abiye

    January 5, 2016 at 2:33 PM

    Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia recently demanded to be given a chair at the United Nation’s Security Council forcing the US and other nations to cool off the military relations with Ethiopia until the Prime Minster withdraws his intention to be holding a seat.