The Guinean junta, which assumed power following a military coup in Guinea, has taken a significant step towards enhancing its international peacekeeping efforts.
The junta recently announced its plans to deploy a second battalion of peacekeepers to the United Nations (UN) mission in Mali. To support this endeavor, the Guinean authorities have ordered 25 armored personnel carriers from the South African firm OTT Technologies. If all goes according to plan, the contingent could be deployed as early as early 2024.
Since its rise to power, the Guinean junta has expressed a commitment to regional stability and peacekeeping operations. By contributing troops to the UN mission in Mali, known as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Guinea aims to play an active role in restoring peace and security in the war-torn country.
The decision to order armored personnel carriers from OTT Technologies is a significant move by the Guinean junta to bolster the capabilities of its peacekeeping forces. Likewise, the arms deal if successful will be a welcoming relief to the South African defence industry which has been struggling to close business deals in the past few years due to several issues chief of them is bureaucratic bottlenecks.
Armored personnel carriers are versatile vehicles that can transport troops and provide essential protection in conflict zones. Equipping the Guinean peacekeepers with these vehicles will enhance their mobility and security, allowing them to effectively carry out their mission in Mali.
OTT Technologies, a renowned South African defense firm, is known for its expertise in manufacturing armored vehicles and other defense equipment. The company’s track record and reputation have likely played a crucial role in the junta’s decision to partner with them.
The country received 32 Puma M26s in 2014 from OTT under a R78 million deal, followed by 32 Puma M36s in 2018, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s arms transfers database and South African National Conventional Arms Control Committee data.
Sometimes last year, South Africa’s OTT Technologies, LMT Products and ADG Mobility successfully completed a merger, and becoming the OTT Group.
The merger was strategically placed to deliver a broad range of products, and bring about branding and structural changes in future. In 2020, South African armoured vehicle designer and manufacturer OTT acquired LMT, which has been in business rescue since September 2019, following Denel’s loss of control of the company.
Two years ago, OTT Technologies working with US defence contractor PAE were contracted to deliver twenty-five Puma M26 Mine Resistance and Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to the Burkinabe Army.
The new vehicles will be used in the fight against terrorism, as well as in the protection of Burkinabe troops on the frontline. The United States and the Burkinabe Army will also collaborate on training to improve troops response to Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) attacks now prevalent in the country.
By choosing OTT Technologies, the Guinean junta ensures that its peacekeepers will have access to high-quality and reliable armored personnel carriers that can withstand the challenges of peacekeeping operations in Mali.
The deployment of a second battalion signifies Guinea’s commitment to increasing its peacekeeping presence in Mali. It reflects the junta’s recognition of the ongoing instability and security challenges faced by the Malian government and its people. With the inclusion of additional troops, Guinea aims to make a tangible difference by contributing to the efforts aimed at stabilizing Mali and protecting civilian populations.
However, it is important to acknowledge that peacekeeping operations are complex and demanding endeavors. The deployment of troops requires careful planning, training, and coordination with other contributing nations and UN agencies. The Guinean junta will have to ensure that its peacekeepers receive the necessary training and support to carry out their duties effectively. Cooperation and collaboration with MINUSMA and other contributing countries will also be crucial to achieve the desired outcomes.
Moreover, it is vital for the Guinean junta to maintain transparency and accountability in its peacekeeping efforts. The international community closely monitors the actions of peacekeeping forces to ensure adherence to human rights standards and the prevention of misconduct or abuses. By upholding high standards of conduct and accountability, Guinea can build trust and contribute positively to the overall mission in Mali.
As the Guinean junta proceeds with its plans to deploy a second battalion of peacekeepers to MINUSMA, the international community will be closely observing its progress. The successful implementation of this initiative will not only bolster Guinea’s reputation but also contribute to regional stability and the ongoing efforts to restore peace in Mali.