A suspected U.S. drone apparently crashed in Yemen, was recovered by local police and then stolen by al Qaida, according to AFP.
The plane was an MQ-1 Predator being used to support ongoing special operations missions against terrorists there. U.S. special ops troops have been in the country for quite some time, helping to train local security forces in fighting al Qaeda.
Yes, drones crash quite frequently in combat zones for a variety of reasons. What’s interesting here is the Yemeni government’s inability to secure the wreckage, even when it can get its hands on it.
The drone crashed in Jahayn village near Loder, in Yemen’s Abyan province where al-Qaida has a strong presence, and was found by local residents, the official told AFP.
Witnesses said residents called in police, who collected the debris.
But as they headed to a police station about 18 miles away, al-Qaida gunmen in cars intercepted the police and hijacked the wreckage.
There were no reports of casualties.
Maybe this is just a one time event, the type that often happens in combat zones or maybe this is a small sign of how tenuous a hold on power the embattled Yemeni government has in a country with a rather long history of insurgency. We’ll see what happens there in the coming months and years.