The CIA is reportedly expanding its armed drone programme in Africa and will start using a military base in the Nigerien desert to carry out raids on areas where ISIL and al-Qaeda are believed to operate.
The New York Times reported on Monday that a secret military base in Dirkou, about 250km south of the Libyan border, will soon begin deploying armed drones in an apparent loosening of Obama-era limits on US raids outside conventional warzones.
According to the Times, the Pentagon has already carried out five drone raids in Libya this year, including one two weeks ago.
While the drones are currently being flown out of bases in Sicily and Niamey, Niger’s capital, armed drones “would almost certainly” be deployed from Dirkou “in the near future”.
The Times added that one of its journalists said he saw “gray aircraft – about the size of Predator drones, which are 27 feet long