On June 23, 2011, a drone was launched from Mada-Bay military base in Lamu Kenya. The drone fired missiles at convoy of fighters belonging to al-Shabaab group in Kismayu.
2 senior commanders were badly injured in the attack when the missile struck their convoy as they drove across the port city of Kismayu.
Given the location of the attack, in southern Somalia, intelligence confirmed the drone was launched from Kenya.
The same strategy was used in firing 4 Hellfire missiles from a similar drone killing the leader of Al-Shabaab Abdi-Godane.According to Director of Strategic Intelligence at SI David James, a drone operation is usually an intelligence based operation. Time and distance are the key factors considered in such an operation.
David James further explains the scenario where the US drone strike that hit a convoy of the Al-Shabaab leaders; four missiles were fired at the convoy carrying the leaders hence someone provided real-time intelligence from the meeting itself and from the location of the attack.
“It is even possible that the intelligence was provided by one of the Godane junior or top commanders who could be serving as Kenya Intelligence Service agent or the CIA.”
U.S. Intelligence confirm that Tuesday strike was undertaken because of intelligence showed Godane and his top lieutenants were meeting.
“We had an opportunity that we had been looking for and it presented itself,”
This affirms the notion that the intelligence was real time. The second question would be time. Time as a factor determines distance which the drone will fly to the target and make the hit.
David James points out three bases, Mada Bay, Camp Lemonaire in Djibouti, and Seychelles. Only Mada-Bay is within minutes of such a precision strike.
“The nature of the operation is basically on ‘OPPORTUNITY BASIS’, and as the US intelligence officials point out, the opportunity presented itself and they took it.”