US expands ‘shadow war’ in Africa with spy planes, report says
The U.S. military is expanding its intelligence-gathering operations across Africa, the Washington Post reports, mainly using small, unarmed planes "equipped with hidden sensors that can record full-motion video, track infrared heat patterns, and vacuum up radio and cellphone signals"—part of a "shadow war" against al-Qaida and other militants.
Approximately a dozen secret U.S. air bases have been established there in the last five years, according to the paper, which "pieced together descriptions of the surveillance network by examining references to it in unclassified military reports, U.S. government contracting documents and diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group."
One of them is in "Ouagadougou (WAH-gah-DOO-goo), the flat, sunbaked capital of Burkina Faso." But the planes often "refuel on isolated airstrips favored by African bush pilots, extending their effective flight range by thousands of miles."