The United States has donated 22 Osprea Mamba Mk 7 armoured vehicles to Niger to equip the G5 Sahel Joint Force for its fight against terrorism, transnational organized crime, and trafficking in the Sahel.
The equipment was handed over on 5 August at a ceremony in Niger’s capital Niamey and includes 15 Osprea Logistics Mamba Mk 7 armoured personnel carriers, four Mamba Mk 7 armoured command vehicles and three Mamba Mk 7 armoured ambulances. Also handed over were two Toyota land cruiser ambulances and four armoured vehicle mechanic tool sets. The US will also provide maintenance support for the equipment.
Based on the South African designed Mamba, the Mamba Mk 7 is manufactured in the United States by Osprea Logistics and features various improvements over previous Mamba generations.
The United States previously handed over 13 Osprea Mambas to Niger in December 2019, also for the G5 Sahel Joint Force. The equipment, part of a $21 million donation, included 13 Mamba armoured personnel carriers, 86 radio systems, and four Armoury Containers. An earlier tranche of equipment was handed over in Niamey in June 2019 and included transport, fuel, and water trucks; GPS-enabled navigation systems; fuel containers; military tents and individual soldier equipment.
“As we have seen with the recent deadly attack on innocent civilians in Niger, security continues to be a concern in the Sahel,” said Jer Donald Get, deputy director security cooperation, US Africa Command. “This donation is just one way Africom supports our Nigerien and G5 Sahel Joint Force partners in their fight against terrorism.”
“This equipment delivery will continue efforts to grow and operationalize the G5 Sahel Joint Force as it takes great strides towards removing the scourge of violent extremism from this region,” said US Ambassador to Niger, Eric Whitaker.
The G5 Sahel Joint Force member countries are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. The Joint Force’s missions include combating counterterrorism, transnational organized crime, and trafficking in the Sahel, a region that has seen an increase in violence since 2017.
“The US and Niger have developed a long-standing partnership that includes military training exercises as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support for counterterrorism activities,” Africa Command said.
“As demonstrated by our continuous support, the United States considers Niger an extremely important strategic partner, and one that is critical to the multi-national effort to defeat some of the world’s most ruthless terrorist groups,” said Whitaker.
The United States’ assistance to the G5 Sahel Joint Force is just one component of the larger and longer-term security sector support the US provides to Niger. The US embassy’s office of security cooperation previously arranged for Niger to receive 21 armoured personnel carriers (according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers Database, Niger received six Mamba-7s from South Africa in 2014 and 15 OTT Puma M26 APCs that same year).
In addition, the US has provided four medical evacuation aircraft, as well as training for Nigerien pilots and maintenance crews. Between 2013 and 2015 Niger received four Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft from the United States, with two configured for surveillance.
Those armoured vehicles and aircraft are directly supporting operations in the fight against terrorism, the US Army said.