Exclusive: Somali police get first drones to combat Islamist bombings

By Abdirahman Hussein and Katharine Houreld

MOGADISHU/NAIROBI (Reuters) – A former U.S. intelligence specialist has donated surveillance drones to police in Somalia, aiming to help combat a jump in deadly bombings by al Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgents.

The gift comes as U.S. President Donald Trump is increasing military engagement in the region. A member of the U.S. Navy SEAL special forces was killed in Somalia earlier this month on a raid, the first U.S. combat casualty in Somalia since 1993.

The Somalis received five drones, some of which have infra-red or night vision capabilities, from Brett Velicovich, whose service with the U.S. military features in a “Drone Warrior”, a book to be published next month. His life story is also being developed as a movie by Paramount Pictures.

“There’s been a real increase in complex attacks,” the 33-year-old told Reuters on a rooftop overlooking the capital of Mogadishu, as drones swooped and whirred nearby

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