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Google Maps sleuth finds military base in desert surrounded by landmines

An eagle-eyed Google Maps user has found a “secret” military base in the middle of the Sahara Desert surrounded by landmines.

Aerial images taken from Google Earth show the facility in Niger, near the Libyan border.

One user shared the finding on Reddit, with the title: “Secret base! (Middle of the Sahara)”

The images show a landing strip, buildings, vehicles and a perimeter fence, surrounded by hundreds of miles of clear desert.

One forum user replied: “Damn, that’s really out there. What do you think those blue squares are? They look like pools but… probably not.”

The camp, known as Aerodrome Madama, is actually a French Military airfield based in the border settlement on the northeast frontier of Niger.

Previously a French colonial fort, built in 1931, the army of Niger maintains a garrison of a hundred soldiers at the site.

In 2014, the French government announced plans to base helicopters and 50 French troops there as part of its ongoing anti-insurgent Operation Barkhane.

It built a base on the site and as of 2015 had around 200 to 250 soldiers operating there.

The operational base of Madama served as a command post for a military operation zone control for the French, Niger and Chad armies from 20 to 27 December 2014.

The base consists of a 1,800m long landing strip, a ramp and two parking areas for aircraft and helicopter pads.

A former user replied: “Holy smokes! Surrounded by land mines and 250 French Soldiers there. That’s crazy! Good find.”

While another suggested a prison for super villains could be buried underneath.

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The French-led Operation Barkhane was launched on 1 August 2014. It is based on a strategic partnership with the main Sahel-Saharan countries – Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.

It comprises 4,000 military personnel whose mission is to combat terrorism and armed groups in the region.

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