Drones are in our future: The US military is planning to open a drone base in Africa in order to gather intelligence on extremist groups in the area.
The immediate impetus for a drone base in the region is to provide surveillance assistance to the French-led operation in Mali. There is a large flow of fighters and weapons from Libya to that country.
In the January 28th edition of the New York Times, Eric Schmitt quotes Niger president (where the base may be set up) Mahamadou Issoufou as saying, "What’s happening in northern Mali is a big concern for us because what’s happening in northern Mali can also happen to us."
The French operation in Mali and a militant attack on a remote gas field in the Algerian desert have left at least 37 foreign hostages, including 3 Americans, dead.
American drones regularly conduct surveillance flights over Somalia and occasionally launch airstrikes against people suspected of being terrorists there.
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