The skies over Somalia have become so congested with drones that the unmanned aircraft pose a danger to air traffic and potentially violate a long-standing arms embargo against the war-torn country, according to United Nations officials.
In a recently completed report, U.N. officials describe several narrowly averted disasters in which drones crashed into a refugee camp, flew dangerously close to a fuel dump and almost collided with a large passenger plane over Mogadishu, the capital.
Although U.N. investigators did not directly pin the blame for the mishaps on the United States, the report noted that at least two of the unmanned aircraft appeared to be U.S.-manufactured and suggested that Washington had been less than forthcoming about its drone operations in Somalia.
… The United Nations said it had documented 64 unauthorized flights of drones, fighter jets or attack helicopters in Somalia since June 2011.
At least 10 of those flights involved drones, according to the report, which provided dates and locations but few other details. U.N. officials said they catalogued the flights from “confidential international agency security reports” and press reports.
In addition, the U.N. report presented evidence of two other incidents in which aircraft believed to be drones nearly caused catastrophes.