Qatari Gazelles for Rwanda


The Rwanda Defence Force has received two SA 342 Gazelle helicopters from Qatar as the two countries strengthen defence ties.

The Chief of Staff of the Qatar Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Salem Bin Hamad Al Aqeel Al Nabit, and his delegation spent three days in Rwanda on an official visit from 1 March. The Qatari Ministry of Defence subsequently released a video showing at least two Gazelles at Kigali Air Base.

The helicopters were not seen clearly but were fitted with the engine dust filters used by Middle Eastern militaries and painted in desert camouflage, Janes reports. Rwanda has operated Gazelles since the late 1980s.

According to Avions Legendaires, the two second hand Gazelles were delivered by a Qatari C-17 Globemaster III, along with 2.5 tons of spare parts. No weaponry was delivered.

Qatar and Rwanda have been strengthening defence ties and according to the Rwandan Ministry of Defence, last week’s bilateral discussions “focused on cooperation between Qatar Armed Forces and Rwanda Defence Force in a wide range of defence and security issues. The discussions were concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Qatar Armed Forces and Rwanda Defence Force on expanding the spheres of cooperation in defence and security.”

Rwanda is apparently also interested in acquiring six Alpha Jets from Qatar.

Qatar has provided military equipment to other African nations, notably armoured vehicles to Somalia and Mali.