US ceases drone operations in Ethiopia: Official
Iran Press TV
Sun Jan 3, 2016 1:19PM
The United States has ceased its drone operations in the African country of Ethiopia, according to an embassy official.
David Kennedy, spokesman of the US Embassy in Ethiopia, said a decision has been reached that the facilities in Arba Minch, 450 kilometers south of the capital Addis Ababa, are no longer necessary, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.
Although Washington has never acknowledged the existence of such a base in the country, Ethiopian media have been reporting about it ever since it was established in 2011.
Security experts have speculated that the Addis Ababa government, a staunch ally of Washington, has provided the base for attacks on terrorist positions in Somalia.
In July, US drones reportedly killed two senior leaders of al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, in south-west Somalia.
In October 2015, a whistle-blower within the US intelligence ranks leaked a series of sensitive documents, shedding more light on Washington's mass assassination program in countries like Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and Pakistan using drones.
The documents revealed that in order to hide the true numbers of civilian casualties, the White House categorizes unidentified people killed in drone strikes as enemies, even if they were not the intended targets.
Some 2,500 people have been killed by US drone strikes outside the country's declared war zones since President Barack Obama took office seven years ago, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Obama has personally authorized at least four kills in Somalia. Drones killed between 4 and 8 people in the country that year.
A joint effort by the New York Times and The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to obtain memorandums on the legal basis of the American "targeted killings" overseas was blocked by a federal court in late November last year.
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