In Somalia Skies, a Dangerous Drone Traffic Jam

UN report cites close calls with banned military drones
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2012 6:59 AM CDT
In Somalia Skies, a Drone Traffic Jam
A US Predator drone flies over the moon above Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan. Similar drones flying in Somalia are said to create safety hazards.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

(Newser) – The White House may barely acknowledge US operations in Somalia, but apparently there are so many drones zipping around the region that they are endangering local air traffic and perhaps violating a 1992 arms embargo, reports the Washington Post. A new UN report details narrowly averted disasters, including a near-miss with a passenger plane, drones that crashed into a refugee camp, and a drone flying close to a fuel depot.

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With US drones operating out of bases from Djibouti, the Seychelles, and Ethiopia, the number of military drones over and around Somalia has grown greatly. But a 1992 embargo passed by the UN Security Council bans weapons, including military drones, except for those working with African Union troops. The UN report detailed 64 unauthorized flights over Somalian airspace since June 2011, at least 10 of those being drones. (Read more Somalia stories.)

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