March 22, 2013
An article in this morning’s Washington Post reports that a detachment of two or three U.S. Air Force Predator drones are now operating from a heavily-guarded hanger on the military side of Niamey International Airport in the African nation of Niger.
Unarmed reconaissance missions over northern Mali and neighboring nations began last month, and it appears that the detachment’s Predators are now flying at least one or two missions a day searching for militant fighters belonging to al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb or their local Malian allies.
One interesting revelation in the article is that according to the WP’s source, the U.S. wants to move the USAF Predator drone detachment from Niamey to the remote city of Agadez in northern Niger. The rationale for shifting the detachment to Agadez is not clear. The Predator’s have more than sufficient range to cover the entire Maghreb region, including all of Mali, Niger and Mauritania from the Niamey airport. Perhaps there are too many prying eyes in and around the Niamey airport, and you do not have to worry about you activities being surveilled by the local contingent of Russian or Chinese spies pretending to be diplomats.
- matthewaid posted this