News / Africa

Report: US Expands Air Surveillance Across Africa

U.S. Surveillance Facilities in Africa
U.S. Surveillance Facilities in Africa
VOA News
The Washington Post reports the U.S. military has set up small air bases across Africa to conduct surveillance of terrorist groups.

The newspaper, quoting U.S. and African officials, says about a dozen bases have been set up since 2007 in a number of countries, including Burkina Faso, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and the Seychelles.

A PC-12 Pilatus on the runway at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez)A PC-12 Pilatus on the runway at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez)
x
A PC-12 Pilatus on the runway at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez)
A PC-12 Pilatus on the runway at Hurlburt Field, Fla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Evelyn Chavez)
Instead of drones, The Post says the surveillance is conducted by small planes - usually single-engine PC-12s with only a pilot aboard. The report says the unarmed planes are equipped to record video, track infrared heat patterns and catch radio and cellphone signals.

A spokesman for the Kenyan Defense Forces, Colonel Cyrus Oguna, denied that there are U.S. air bases in Kenya.

"As far as we are concerned, U.S. is not using any Kenyan air space or any bases from where they can be able to launch observation vessels.  However, I know that we do have bilateral arrangements in terms of sharing information and intelligence to fight terror," he said.

U.S. officials in Washington declined to answer reporters' questions Thursday about the newspaper report.

According to The Post, U.S. military Special Operations forces supervise the surveillance, but the program relies heavily on private military contractors and support from African troops.

  • A single-engine turboprop PC-12, the type of plane the U.S. military is reportedly using to record video, track infrared heat patterns, and catch radio and cellphone signals in Africa.
  • Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army during a meeting with a delegation of 160 officials and lawmakers from northern Uganda and representatives of non-governmental organizations, July 31, 2006, Congo near the Sudan border.
  • Troops from the Central African Republic stand outside a building used for meetings between them and U.S. Army special forces seeking the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, Obo, Central African Republic, April 29, 2012.
  • U.S. Special Forces soldier trains troops from Senegal combat techniques in Kati, Mali, during a joint training exercise with units from several African countries where al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb is active, May 12, 2010.
  • Fighters from Islamist group Ansar Dine stand guard as they prepare to hand over a Swiss female hostage in the desert outside Timbuktu, Mali, April 24, 2012.
  • Suspected members of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram are detained by the military in Bukavu Barracks in Kano state, Nigeria, March 21, 2012.

Targets of the surveillance include al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia, Yemen and Africa's Sahel region, and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa.

U.S. officials have repeatedly warned of the threat to regional stability presented by such groups and others like Nigeria's Boko Haram.

The Post previously reported that the U.S. has a secret program in east Africa and the Arabian peninsula that uses drone airplanes to watch militants in Somalia and Yemen.

The newspaper said its latest report was based on unnamed U.S. military and government officials, African officials, U.S. government contracting documents, unclassified military reports and diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: African from: Africa
June 15, 2012 5:34 PM
Sometimes what US considers terrorist group are truly a genuine oposition to the dictator the US administration supports, and they are helping the regime survive for an exchange the regime allows the US military to have access to their air and land spaces. Ironically there is no legitimate regime in Africa that comes with election. Almost all African regimes come to power by overthrowing the previous regime. Hence, who is terrorist organization, the regime that is doing harm to the population or the freedom fighters defending their civilians?

by: JP from: COLORADO
June 15, 2012 3:41 PM
Kudos to those brave warriors out in harms way protecting once again our leaderships' underlings freedom to have announced - leaked - our hand of cards (security be dammed) to the world and those intent on our demise.

Will the internal bickering at the very top protecting our national interests ever cease and once again focus on America....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs