US claims Iran supplied military drones to Ethiopia for Tigray war

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By Tefsa-alem Tekle

Oct. 19, 2022 (NAIROBI) — Iran has sent armed drones to Ethiopia that were unleashed by the Ethiopian military in the ongoing war in the northern Tigray region, the US State Department announced on Tuesday.

Spokesman Vedanta Patel said Iran delivered Mohajer-6 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Ethiopia in summer 2021.

In addition to Ethiopia, Iran has sent drones to Moscow for Russia’s war with Ukraine.

Iran’s supply of military drones to the two countries is in violation of a standing UN Security Council resolution, Vedanta Patel said.

According to several reports, the Ethiopian army used Iranian, Turkish, Emirati and Chinese drones after the outbreak of the Tigray conflict in November 2020 between Tigray and government forces.

Earlier, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed reported that military drones were used in the Tigray war.

The country’s air force commander, Major General Yilma Merdasa, in November last year, when appearing on state television, confirmed that Ethiopia had used drones during the war.

However, the military official did not specify which country the drones were used from.

Last year, Plant SkySat satellite imagery analyzed by Bellingcat.com identified two Mohajer-6 drones and a ground control station (GCS) at Semara Airport (now the US Army base). Ethiopian Air) in northeastern Ethiopia on August 1.

The GCS was later photographed when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited the airbase a few days later.

The Mohajer-6 is the latest model in the Mohajer series. It was unveiled in 2017 and entered production a year later, serving with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The Mohajer-6 manufactured by Codes Aviation has an operational range of 200 km with a payload capacity of 40 kilograms of precision-guided munitions.

Among the drones Ethiopia is said to have used in the country’s civil war is the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB-2.

This drone manufactured by Baykar Defense can fly with a weight of up to 150 kg and can be controlled at a distance of up to 300 km and will carry out its mission at an altitude of 18,000 to 27,000 feet.

Spokesman Vedant Patel said the United States notified the UN of Iran’s delivery of unmanned fighter jets to Russia, noting that it violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231. UN.

“That type of transfer would fall under and be subject to that restriction,” he told reporters, referring to the resolution.

Ethiopia’s use of drones has risen sharply in the past two months after heavy fighting resumed in August, ending a six-month truce between the two warring sides.
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