The United States has handed over 28 armoured vehicles, ten trucks, eight water tankers and other equipment to Chad’s military as part of continued support for its anti-terrorism efforts in the Sahel.
The United States Embassy in Chad said it handed over the vehicles on 3 July. It said the materiel was worth $8.5 million and will go to Chad’s Special Anti-Terrorism Group (SATG), which contributes to the G5 Sahel force comprising Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, and Chad.
Chargé d’Affaires Jessica Davis Ba thanked Chad for its continued contributions to anti-terrorism efforts in both Lake Chad and the Sahel and emphasized that the United States remained committed to its support of Chadian antiterrorism efforts.
General Abdramane Youssouf Mery, commander of the Special Anti-Terrorism Group, and his unit is the primary recipient of the materiel consisting of 28 armoured vehicles, ten trucks, eight water tankers, three backhoes, two maintenance vehicles, tools, communications equipment, and vehicle spare parts. Mery thanked the United States for its continued support of his unit and said US contributions were critical to the success of the Wrath of Boma military operation in April 2020, against Boko haram and other terrorist affiliates in the Lake Chad Region.
It appears the armoured vehicles are Davids manufactured by MDT Armor – the United States has previously supplied the type to Chad, delivering 60 in 2016/17.
MDT Armor says the David is a cost-effective, survivable, light protected all-terrain vehicle that seats four, six or eight crewmembers. Its armoured capsule is mounted on a commercial Toyota Land Cruiser, Hilux or LandRover Defender pickup truck.
“The David has been in service in combat conditions for over 10 years. Hundreds have been fielded, with daily combat activity. The David has come under terror attacks ranging from rocks and stones to assault weapons and improvised devices. It has proven itself, saving lives of numerous operators, time and time again,” MDT said.
The US Embassy said the latest delivery of vehicles and equipment contributes to the 99 vehicles already provided to the SATG as part of the $28 million US initiative. The United States has supported Chad’s SATG through various security assistance programs since its inception in 2005. In September 2019 delivered a batch of equipment to Chad worth $15 million, including 80 Toyota Land Cruisers, communications equipment and support materials.
In July 2019 the US handed over 16 trucks, 900 medical kits and a newly constructed warehouse worth nearly $6 million to Chad. At the time, the US Embassy said it was the first part of a training and equipment programme worth 16 billion Central African Francs ($26.6 million).
In November 2018 the United States donated six new boats, six pickup trucks, spares and training worth $3 million to improve security on Lake Chad and help fight violent extremist organisations. The package formed part of the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP).
Other recent donations include 60 Toyota light armoured vehicles in December 2016, 86 vehicles in February 2017 for the Chadian Special Forces (72 Toyota Land Cruisers and 14 Mercedes Atego trucks to patrol the borders, especially with Libya), and two Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft and maintenance hangars, which were handed over in May 2018.
In her speech on 3 July, Ba said the United States is proud of its “long-term, unwavering relationship with Chad, the Sahel, and Africa. Our goal is to promote peace and security through continuous bilateral, regional, and multilateral engagement. Over the past two years, the US Department of State has furnished more than $323 million in security assistance to G5 Sahel countries on a bilateral basis.
“We have committed almost two million dollars in statutory contributions to the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) since its creation in 2013. We recognize the role that MINUSMA plays in regional stabilization and for this reason we continue to work to make it more efficient. We recognize the leadership role of Chad in MINUSMA, contributing to peace and security in the region.”
Ba added that the US contribution will ensure the Chadian contingent of the G5 Sahel force will be ready and equipped for its mission to fight against the flow of terrorists and illicit traffic of persons, drugs and arms.