The U.S. government has now publicly accused Chinese personnel of dangerous laser activity near the American base at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, which it says has physically harmed the pilot and co-pilot of a U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules. Though it may only be a nuisance now, it could represent a desire on the part of China's forces to challenge the United States' ability to freely operate in and around the vital region hub.
On May 3, 2018, Dana White, the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson, said lasers from China's base in the East African country had harassed American aviators on between two and 10 occasions, resulting in two, unspecified minor injuries to the C-130 crew. She also indicated that there had been an increase in these activities recently, prompting American officials to make a formal complaint. The issue had prompted the U.S. military to issue a formal warning to its own aircrews in April 2018, which did not specifically name who was responsible.