Niger received on Friday heavy weapons and armored vehicles, offered by Egypt to help this poor Sahelian country to fight jihadist groups, whose attacks are undermining the east and west of the country, announced the Nigerien ministry of security. defense.
In particular, 30 armored (reconnaissance) vehicles of the BRDM-2 type, around twenty mortars and 122mm guns, more than 2,000 automatic pistols and AK47 assault rifles, as well as ammunition, were received in Niamey by the Nigerian military authorities.
Alkassoum Indatou, Niger’s Defense Minister, hailed “this highly significant gesture” from Egypt, which “still demonstrates its solidarity” in Niger “in a particularly difficult security context” in the Sahel.
Egypt is also training Special Forces of the Nigerien army, noted Mr. Indatou, during a ceremony in the presence of the Egyptian ambassador to Niger.
Niger, one of the poorest states in the world, is confronted on six of its seven borders with armed bandits or jihadist groups, such as the Nigerian Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) in the east, and other jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS) in the west.
In its fight against the jihadists, Niger enjoys the support of several Western countries including France and the United States, which have military bases there. Some 1,500 French soldiers are present in the country.
In addition, the EU announced on Wednesday to strengthen its military support to fight jihadist groups. Niger “will be the first African country” to benefit from European aid to equip its forces with “lethal equipment”, mainly “sophisticated ammunition for combat helicopters”, declared Josep Borrell, the head of diplomacy European Union visiting Niamey.
This article is originally published on voaafrique.com