June 17, 2024

Russia sends military trainers, equipment to Niger Republic

In a bid to deepen security ties with Niger Republic, Russia has sent some military trainers, air defence systems and other equipment to the West African nation.

In January, Niger’s military government agreed to step up military cooperation with Russia, after expelling French forces that were helping fight armed rebellions in several Sahel nations.

However, Broadcaster Tele Sahel showed a Russian transport plane arriving at Niamey airport, as it reported late on Thursday that “the latest military equipment and military instructors” from Russia’s Ministry of Defence had landed in the capital.

Russia will help “install an air defence system … to ensure complete control of our airspace”, the report said.

State-run Radio Television du Niger said on its Facebook page that 100 Russian military instructors had arrived in Niamey.

There was no immediate comment from Russia, which has been seeking to boost its influence in Africa, promoting itself as a friendly country without a colonial background on the continent.

Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, had been a front-line partner of the West in battling armed fighters in the Sahel but has turned to Russia since a coup last July overthrew elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

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