Sixteen Mamba armoured personnel carriers (APCs) have joined the G5 Sahel Joint Force in northern Niger as part of efforts to combat terrorism, transnational organised crime and trafficking.
This is according to the US military’s Africa Command (Africom), which on 31 March said that it had completed movement of the vehicles to support G5 Sahel efforts in northern Niger.
The United States in August last year announced the donation of 22 Osprea Mamba Mk 7 armoured vehicles to Niger to equip the G5 Sahel Joint Force.
The equipment was handed over on 5 August and included 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.
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 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. In addition to armoured vehicles, 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.