US hands over more military hardware to Niger


The United States has handed over a second tranche of military equipment to Niger, including 13 Mamba armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

The equipment was transferred to Niger’s military on 5 December by US Ambassador Eric Whitaker and received by Minister of National Defence Issoufou Katambe during a ceremony at the Direction Centrale du Matériel de l’Armée de Terre.

The Nigerien Armed Forces will use the equipment for the G5 Sahel Joint Force, conducting counterterrorism operations and keeping Niger’s borders and citizens safe, the US Embassy in Niamey said.

The equipment, part of a $21 million donation, includes 13 Mamba armoured personnel carriers (apparently Mamba-7s supplied by Osprea Logistics), 86 radio systems, and four Armoury Containers.

The first tranche of equipment was handed over in the capital Niamey on 6 June by US Army Major Maia Molina-Schaefer, chief, Office of Security Cooperation, and received by Nigerien Defence Minister Kalla Moutari. It included transport, fuel, and water trucks; GPS-enabled navigation systems; fuel containers; military tents and individual soldier equipment.

Moutari hailed the equipment as a major contribution to Nigerien defense and reminded everyone that it demonstrated the United States’ commitment to helping Niger in its fight against terrorist organizations.

The US Army said 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 embassy’s office of security cooperation 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.

Other support provided by the United States this year included a $16.5 million command and control centre, which was handed over to the Nigerien Armed Forces in February. The node comprises a new building, two deployable tactical operations centres, specialised communications equipment and radios.