ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
The U.S. is closing an aerial drone base in Ethiopia that had been used to combat al-Shabab militants, the embassy told Anadolu Agency on Monday.
The base near the southern town of Arba Minch, 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of capital Addis Ababa, had been used by the U.S. military since 2011 to launch missions against the al-Qaeda-linked group in neighboring Somalia.
In an email to Anadolu Agency, Catherine M. Diop, the U.S. embassy’s spokeswoman, said U.S. military personnel were no longer posted at the base.
“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,” she said.
“As we work with our African partners, our mutual needs change over time and a determination was made that our use of the facilities in Arba Minch is no longer necessary.”
Drones from Arba Minch are believed to have flown surveillance missions rather than carried out airstrikes as part of U.S. counter-terrorism measures in East Africa.
U.S. drone strikes have targeted a number of al-Shabab leaders, including leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in September 2014.
The U.S. still has a large military base in Djibouti, to the northeast of Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is a close regional ally of the U.S. and has soldiers in Somalia supporting the fight against al-Shabab as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.