Al Shabaab drones, and the African conundrum

The proliferation of drone technology across Africa has significantly expanded humanitarian, and military operations, although, still an emerging technology in the continent, however, in the hands of non-state armed groups, they pose a significant threat. The combat drone was once the preserve of military superpowers but it’s now in use by insurgents and smaller nations and is already changing the nature of the battle.

Retired Colonel David Peddle, a former military service member in South Africa and the United Kingdom, with ongoing contact in Somalia, confirmed that armed nonstate actors notably Al Shabaab have been using drones for surveillance purposes, and he believes it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing the deployment of ‘clusters’ or ‘swarms’ of drones in Africa, given their accessibility and relatively low cost.

Somali media reported the seized drones could carry more than 30 kilograms and shared similarities to attack drones used by ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Somali MP Zakariye Mohamud Haji Abdi imported the drones and insisted they are intended for agricultural use in Puntland despite a ban by the state on the use and importation of all drones due to security concerns.

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Source: Military Africa