US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has stated in a press release that an unarmed, likely a surveillance drone, or what AFRICOM calls it a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), was lost over Tripoli, Libya, last Thursday [Nov. 21].
AFRICOM’s statement doesn’t provide a lot of details of the incident, nor does it mention if the drone crashed because of technical failures or if it was shot down by rebel forces.
The military says the incident remains under investigation but noted that surveillance drones had been a crucial tool in counter-terror missions across Libya.
US military operations “are conducted in Libya to assess the ongoing security situation and monitor violent extremist activity,” the statement said.
The loss of the drone last week came several days after the Libyan National Army led by Khalifa Haftar allegedly shot down an Italian drone in western Libya.
In September, the US military carried out several airstrikes against ISIS groups in the country, killing dozens of militants. The airstrikes were some of the first bombing missions in more than a year.
We don’t want to speculate on the type of drone that was lost, but if we had to, it could’ve been the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper (price tag $16.9 million).
Oil-rich Libya was thrown into civil war nearly a decade ago when NATO forces overthrew Moammar Gadhafi. It’s been another great blunder in Western military forces who’ve spent the last several decades crusading around the Middle East, sparking wars across the continent.
The latest outbreak of fighting has been based in Tripoli. Since about 2015, Libya has seen its government splintered into two, one based in Tripoli and the other in the country’s east.
The eastern government forces have been attempting to recapture Tripoli since April, and fierce fighting in the capital continues into the late year.