Egypt has donated a large amount of military hardware to Nigér’s military to help it combat jihadist terror groups operating in the region. The consignment was handed over on July 7 and according to Niger’s Ministry of National Defence, included 30 BRDM-2 armoured reconnaissance vehicles, 12 122 mm M-30 howitzers, 12 mortars, 50 AK-47 assault rifles, 300 assault rifles (apparently FN FALs), 1 900 pistols, and a significant quantity of ammunition.
The mortars appeared to be Egyptian-made 82 mm Helwan M-69s, and some of the small arms included Port Said submachineguns, and Egyptian-made RPG-7 rocket launchers says Janes.
The donation is a significant boost to Nigér’s military, which has been struggling to combat the threat of terrorism in the region. Niger is located in the Sahel region, which has become a hotbed of jihadist activity in recent years. The country has been repeatedly attacked by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS).
The donation from Egypt is a sign of the growing cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism. Egypt has a long history of fighting terrorism, and its military has a wealth of experience in counter-insurgency operations. The donation of military hardware will help Niger’s military to improve its capabilities and better protect its citizens from terrorist attacks.
The donation is also a sign of Egypt’s commitment to regional security. Egypt is a major power in the Middle East, and its leadership is concerned about the spread of terrorism in the region. The donation to Niger is part of Egypt’s efforts to help its neighbours to combat terrorism and promote regional stability.
Nigerien Defence Minister Alkassoum Indatou said the delivery of weaponry was a significant move in light of the difficult security context of the region and would strengthen Niger’s armed forces to deal with its many current challenges. He added that “this very important gesture” by Egypt shows its solidarity with Niger “in a very difficult security context” in the Sahel region.
During the handover ceremony at the Central Equipment Department (DCMAT) in Niamey, Indatou noted that Egypt is also training special forces from the Nigerien army. Egyptian Ambassador Sayed Mohamed Ahmed Elsalahey said Egypt intends to improve military cooperation with Niger, including training, research and military industries.
As Niger continues its battle against terrorists, including Boko Haram, the country has acquired or placed orders for a diverse range of military hardware in recent years. Two years ago, Germany aided Niger with 15 IAG Guardian Xtreme armoured vehicles to fight against terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration.
A year later, Nigér placed an order for Ejder Yalçins armoured vehicles from Turkey’s Nurol Makina, one hundred (100) new KIA KM450 utility vehicles to improve the mobility and operational proficiency of its soldiers, and in addition to Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles and Hurkus turboprop trainer/light attack aircraft recently purchased. Nigér now joins a long line of countries in Africa operating the Ejder Yalçin armoured vehicle including Chad, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Tunisia.
Subsequently, France gifted two second-hand SA342 L1 Gazelle light attack and scout helicopters as well as seven 20 mm cannons to the Nigérien forces to enhance its counter-insurgence capacity. France had earlier transferred three GAZELLE helicopters equipped with 20 mm cannon to Nigér in March 2013.