Somali militants claim credit for suspected US drone crash


An African Union Mission soldier in Somalia on patrol in Mogadishu, Somalia, on May 25, 2013.


Tobin Jones

Islamist militants claimed on Tuesday to have shot down a suspected US reconnaissance drone in southern Somalia, posting unconfirmed pictures of the object via social media.

Abdikadir Mohamed Nura, a provincial governor in the area, told Reuters al-Shabab had destroyed the drone south of Mogadishu, the capital city, over the town of Bulo Marer.

"Finally they hit it and the drone crashed," Nur told Reuters.

The US Africa Command has not confirmed or denied the report, and it may not do either, as the US does not often officially comment on its foreign drone programs.

An unidentified US government official told Fox that it's unlikely the drone was shot down by militants, and it's not yet certain the drone belongs to the US. Residents of Bulo Marer told the BBC they had seen wreckage that looked to be from a small plane, but could not tell if it belonged to a US drone.

Hours after first reports, al-Shabab boasted of the victory on its Twitter page, saying, "This one will no longer be able to spy on Muslims again. So much for the empty rhetoric on the drone program!" The group has not described how they took down the drone. 

Two years ago, the Washington Post reported on a then secret US drone program being developed in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The purpose of which, the Post noted, was "to attack al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen."