12:28 GMT27 February 2020
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    The US has expanded its drone program with a new base south of Djibouti's capital which allows the program to operate nearly unchecked.

    The US has continued expanding its drone base operations in the tiny country of Djibouti, The Intercept recently reported. The country is strategically located between Eritrea and Somalia on The Horn of Africa, across the Strait of Mandeb from Yemen. Washington is continuing its War on Terror despite President Barack Obama's earlier pledges to end what has been dubbed an "eternal war."

    The relocated and expanded drone base allows for targeted killing operations in Yemen and Somalia, which have left hundreds of civilians dead in the hunt for alleged al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab members. The operations were reportedly relocated from an air base in Djibouti's capital after local officials became alarmed by armed clashes.

    "They’re able to operate with much less oversight — not completely in secret — but there’s much less chance of ongoing observation of how often drones are leaving and what they’re doing," security analyst Tim Brown told The Intercept.

    Amnesty International has demanded an inquiry into the drone-based targeted killing program after reviewing leaks provided to The Intercept. Amnesty noted that the leaks showed that the drone program, which had a "critical shortfall" in target identification, violated international law by classifying unidentified people as combatants to justify the killings.

    Defense contract reports found by The Intercept also show that the US military has spent millions of dollars on the new drone base, including $7.6 million for the perimeter fence alone. The base is equipped with at least 10 MQ-1 Predators and four MQ-9 Reapers, which were based in the capital before the move.

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    Tags:
    drone strike, MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper, US Air Force, Djibouti, Yemen
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