The Central African Republic has taken delivery of 10 BRDM-2 wheeled armoured reconnaissance and patrol vehicles from Russia. The BRDM-2 vehicles were delivered via an An-124-100 Russian transport aircraft to the airport in the capital of the country, Bangui. Also, several caches of weapons and ammunition were also delivered alongside the BRDM-2 vehicles.
“The first batch of the vehicles has been delivered. Another ten are due to arrive on October 20,” a CAR embassy official said, adding that it was Russia’s gift.
The delivery drew the attention of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), which welcomed the arrival of Russian military equipment. A parade was subsequently held at the Bangui at the airport, and inspected by the CAR President Faustine-Archange Touadera.
MINUSCA said in a statement that the donated vehicles will assist in providing security ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections due on December 27.
The BRDM-2 reconnaissance and patrol vehicle is crewed by four including a driver, a co-driver, a commander, and a gunner. The all-welded steel armor hull of the BRDM-2 provides the crew with protection from the firing of small arms 7.62mm caliber and artillery shell splinters. The turret can be fitted with a 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine gun and a coaxial 7.62 PKT machine gun on the right side.
It also features a uniquebelly wheel which can be retracted depending on the terrain.
Russian Involvement in CAR
In 2013, CAR has been plagued with constant armed conflict, when a mostly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition overthrew then-president Francois Bozize, prompting reprisals from Christian ‘anti-balaka’ militias. Since then, CAR has been under a U.N. arms embargo, which means that any weapons shipments to the country must be approved by the U.N. Security Council’s CAR sanctions committee, made up of the Council’s 15 members, including France and Russia.
This recent delivery follows a line of several others, in 2018, Russia donated hundreds of weapons and as well as sending 175 trainers to CAR to help in the fight against militia groups after receiving an exemption from a United Nations arms embargo.
At that time, Between 26 January and 7 February 2018, nine Russian aircraft supplied weapons and ammunition at the M’Poko International Airport in Bangui. The second batch of weapons was delivered to the Central African Republic in 2019.
Russia’s through its interventions in CAR is trying to re-establish influence in sub-Saharan Africa. The Russian weapons and ammunition were distributed to the Presidential Guard, FACA, the police, the gendarmerie, and the Ministry of Justice.
CAR under UN Arms Embargo
The UN Arms embargo imposed on CAR prevents countries from supplying weapons and ammunition to the country without the approval of the United Nations Security Council.
In 2018, request for the easing of the arms sanctions so that the country can receive donated weapons from China was denied.
Although, CAR later took delivery of more than 70 vehicles with a value of over USD15 million from Poly Technologies, a Chinese-based defense company. While the United States donated over 48 vehicles with an overall value of USD8.5 million to Touadéra on 6 August.