US guided-missile drones fly over Indian Ocean.

The US military

Halkaan ka akhri

US Africa Command, Vice Adm. Robert Moeller,1The US military says it has deployed its drones capable of carrying missiles to patrol waters off Somalia in a move to clamp down on piracy.

The deputy commander for the US Africa Command, Vice Adm. Robert Moeller, said unmanned planes called MQ-9 Reapers were stationed on the island nation of Seychelles.

The drones are being deployed to patrol the Indian Ocean in search of pirates, the commander said in an interview with the Associated Press.

The patrols began this week, according to military officials.

The drones are capable of carrying a dozen guided bombs and missiles. They would not immediately be fitted with weaponry, but military officials did not rule out doing so in the future.

Moeller said the aircraft would primarily be used against pirates, adding that they could also be used for other missions.

Washington says the deployment is a response to the rising piracy in a country that is without an effective government since the overthrow of the last military rule under Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991.

Earlier reports had said that US operatives were expected to fly unmanned surveillance aircrafts from American ships off its coast to spy on the Somali pirates.

The developments come as the White House seeks grounds to establish a major military presence in Africa.

Peter Chalk, an expert on piracy at the Washington-based RAND Corp., said he believed the new drones would be “largely irrelevant” in bringing an end to the lawlessness because problems with Somalia’s government need to be addressed first. Otherwise, piracy will persist, he added.

Source    PRESS TV

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