It appears Burundi is receiving another batch of Cougar mine-resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles from the United States under the Excess Defense Articles programme.
The Excess Defense Articles (EDA) database lists Burundi as having accepted the excess defence articles/implemented a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) as of 27 June 2016. The arrangement covers six Cougar MRAPs currently worth $423 000.
The database also lists Burundi as having taken delivery of 15 Cougars with the delivery ‘status date’ of 12 July 2016. These vehicles are worth $2.1 million (although original value was $10.5 million new). Burundi also received 10 RG-33L (revised to Cougar) MRAPs in 2014/5, according to the EDA database. The latter delivery was confirmed by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which said the ‘RG-33Ls’ were for use by peacekeepers in Somalia.
SIPRI data also noted that Burundi took delivery of 27 second hand Casspirs from South Africa in 2009-2010, and 15 WZ-551 armoured personnel carriers from China in 2012.
In January 2015 the US Combined Joint Task Force–Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) revealed that Uganda and Burundi would receive 20 Cougars for use on behalf of the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom). The vehicles, previously used for missions in Afghanistan, were donated under the Excess Defence Articles programme. The EDA database notes 15 Cougars were offered to Uganda in 2014.
It seems the ten Cougars delivered to Burundi last year were part of the 20 supplied to Uganda and Burundi.
The 4×4 Cougar MRAP can carry four passengers plus the driver and co-driver. A V-shaped hull provides protection against landmines and other threats while the rest of the vehicle can withstand 7.62 mm armour piercing bullets. A 330 horsepower Caterpillar diesel engine provides a top speed of 105 km/h and a range of 675 km. The Cougar was manufactured by Force Protection Inc. until acquired by General Dynamics in 2011.