U.S. says China injured pilots with high-powered lasers in Djibouti
The Pentagon has come out to accuse China of using military-grade laser dazzlers on American pilots stationed on Djibouti.
CAMP LEMONNIER, DJIBOUTI — The U.S. has filed a formal complaint with China after pilots in Africa were targeted by unauthorized Chinese laser activity.
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. military's Camp Lemonnier base is located in Djibouti, just a few miles from China's first overseas naval base, which was opened last year.
According to Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, two pilots on a C-130 cargo plane were beamed with high-powered lasers while landing at the U.S. base, resulting in minor eye injuries.
Similar incidents had also been reported in recent weeks. Citing intelligence sources, IHS Jane's Defence Weekly reports that the Chinese navy is suspected of using the laser weapons at their base or on a ship offshore.
Reports from American pilots indicated that the lasers were of military grade, and originated from the Chinese base on at least three occasions.
The U.S. has also requested an investigation on the incidents, though Beijing has yet to respond.
Chinese military observers did tell the South China Morning Post it's possible the lasers were being used to scare off birds or spy drones, and may not have been targeting the pilots at all.
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