The United States has delivered 54 new Humvee vehicles to Djibouti as part of a $31 million aid package, with the vehicles to be used by the Djiboutian Rapid Intervention Battalion (RIB).
The vehicles were delivered to Djibouti City in late December, seven months ahead of schedule.
“With the delivery of these vehicles, we will increase the capability of the RIB to conduct mounted patrols and respond quickly to any mission,” said US Army Captain Michael Simpson, the officer in charge of RIB training. “We are excited to continue building the strong partnership between Djibouti and the US with this new level of operational training.”
US Africa Command said the RIB, which is being trained and equipped by the United States, centres around a cadre of experienced Djiboutian officers and non-commissioned officers. Training provided by the US includes light infantry tactics, mission planning, weapons training, first aid, land navigation, communication exercises, and additional advanced instruction.
Africa Command said its commitment to growing the defence capabilities of its Djiboutian partners includes increasing its naval patrol capacity through logistics, maintenance and seamanship training. Djibouti also hosted two iterations of Africom’s Exercise Cutlass Express in 2019, both of which improved combined maritime law enforcement capacity and promoted regional security in East Africa.
Other support arrangements include engineering and construction support to improve base facilities and local roadways.
“(We) had the opportunity to work with the RIB construction team by improving local roads after this month’s [December’s] heavy rains,” said Captain Paul Hinton, the commander of an Army engineer unit assigned to CJTF-HOA. “The road improvements were vital to the recent delivery,” Hinton said.
The US military said its direct and indirect payments total over $200 million annually to Djibouti, equivalent to around 10 percent of Djibouti’s gross domestic product. The US government is also Djibouti’s second largest employer, behind only the government of Djibouti, including its port operations.