Egypt has donated a large amount of military hardware to Niger’s military to help it combat jihadist terror groups operating in the region.
The consignment was handed over on 7 July and according to Niger’s Ministry of National Defence, included 30 BRMD-2 armoured reconnaissance vehicles, 12 122 mm M-30 howitzers, 12 mortars, 50 AK-47 assault rifles, 300 assault rifles (apparently FN FALs), 1 900 pistols, and a significant quantity of ammunition.
Jane’s reported that the mortars appeared to be Egyptian-made 82 mm Helwan M-69s, and some of the small arms included Port Said submachineguns, and Egyptian-made RPG-7 rocket launchers.
Nigerien Defence Minister Alkassoum Indatou said the delivery of weaponry was a significant move in light of the difficult security context of the region and would strengthen Niger’s armed forces to deal with its many current challenges. He added that “this very important gesture” by Egypt shows its solidarity with Niger “in a very difficult security context” in the Sahel region.
During the handover ceremony at the Central Equipment Department (DCMAT) in Niamey, Indatou noted that Egypt is also training special forces from the Nigerien army.
Egyptian Ambassador Sayed Mohamed Ahmed Elsalahey said Egypt intends to improve military cooperation with Niger, including training, research and military industries.
Niger has received or ordered a variety of military hardware over the last several years as it battles terrorists, including from Boko Haram. Last year, for example, Niger ordered armoured personnel carriers from Turkey’s Nurol Makina, in addition to several Bayraktar TB 2 unmanned aerial vehicles and Turkish Aerospace Industries Hurkus turboprop trainer/light attack aircraft.
In another donation, the German military in November supplied fixed wing unmanned aerial vehicles, offroad vehicles and other equipment to Niger’s armed forces. In September, the United States handed over eight OTT Puma M36 vehicles to Niger, along with 43 Toyota Land Cruisers and other equipment worth $13 million.
In January Niger received a third and final C-130 Hercules transport aircraft from the United States and last year accepted two Gazelle helicopters provided for counter-terror operations by France, as well as two AB 412 helicopters from Italy. Two more AB 412s are scheduled for delivery this year.