The Senegalese gendarmerie recently unveiled the acquisition of advanced armored vehicles, showcasing a diversified fleet that includes Turkish-made Otokar Cobra II and Nurol Ejder Yalçın, along with Chinese VN22 6×6 wheeled armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).
The ceremonial presentation took place during the inauguration of the High Command of the National Gendarmerie headquarters at the Samba Diéry Diallo barracks in Dakar. The event not only introduced the newly acquired Chinese Norinco VN22 IFVs but also highlighted various other armored vehicles already part of the Senegalese army’s inventory.
Among the showcased vehicles were the CS/VN3C, another IFV from the Chinese company Norinco, and the Cobra II armored personnel carriers (APCs) manufactured by the Turkish company Otokar. Additionally, the display featured the Nurol Makina’s Ejder Yalçın 4x4s, a French Arquus Bastion 4×4 APC, and various other armored vehicles, including those acquired from Poland, South Africa, Israel, and China in recent years.
The star of the show, the Chinese Norinco VN22, unveiled at the Zhuhai Air Show in 2021, boasts a formidable 6×6 design with substantial ballistic protection. Capable of withstanding 25mm caliber ammunition at the front and small arms fire up to 14.5mm caliber across the entire hull, the VN22 exemplifies Senegal’s commitment to enhancing its military capabilities.
Earlier this year, China’s Norinco strategically established a regional presence in Senegal, signaling not only an expansion of operations in the country but also a broader push into West Africa. This move aligns with China’s increasing military influence in the region, with Norinco already serving as a major supplier of weaponry to nations like Algeria, Nigeria, and Angola.
Facilitating this acquisition was businessman Thierno Ba, a close associate of Senegalese President Macky Sall, overseeing the procurement of at least a dozen vehicles from Norinco.
Moving on, The Turkish arms industry is continuing to make headways in many markets, and it’s not just about drones. In March 2018, Senegal ordered two different armoured vehicles from Turkey for its gendarmerie. Private Turkish company Nurol Makina was awarded the contract for Ejder Yalcin and Ejder Toma vehicles, which are set to be delivered in batches in March and April/May 2018. Senegalese personnel were trained on the vehicles. It is not clear how many vehicles have been ordered by Senegal.
The Ejder Yalcin, a versatile 4×4 vehicle equipped with various configurations such as explosives disposal, air defense, command and control, internal security, ambulance, and combat reconnaissance, demonstrates the flexibility and adaptability of Turkish armored technology. Senegal’s decision to integrate these vehicles into its fleet reflects the nation’s commitment to modernizing its defense forces.
The equipment acquisition is part of President Macky Sall’s Emerging Senegal Plan that aims to enhance the country’s armed forces. Senegal’s growing fleet of Turkish and Chinese armored vehicles continues to participate in the yearly independence day parade.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers database, Senegal has in the last five years received a number of different armoured vehicle types, including two Oncilla (Dozor-B) armoured cars from Poland, 55 Puma M26 armoured vehicles from South Africa, 55 RAM armoured vehicles from Israel and 12 WMA-301 Assaulter armoured fighting vehicles from China, and French-made Bastion APCs.
The country faces multiple security threats including Islamist terror groups in the Sahel, and separatists in its Casamance region, the location of one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.