Armored Vehicle Donation Helps Niger Battle Extremism
As part of its ongoing support of the Nigerien Armed Forces’ anti-extremism efforts, U.S. Ambassador to Niger Eric P. Whitaker recently presented Niger’s military with $8 million in equipment and spare parts, including 22 American-made Mamba armored vehicles.
Minister of National Defense Issoufou Katambé received the equipment on behalf of the Nigerien Armed Forces (FAN).
“These modern vehicles will help increase the mobility of units of the Nigerien Armed Forces by helping them to maintain pressure on the various terrorist armed groups which attack populations and symbols of the state,” Katambé said during the August 5 ceremony in Niamey.
In addition to the 22 Mambas, the donation included two Land Cruiser ambulances and four sets of maintenance kits for the armored vehicles. The donation is part of $21 million in equipment and training for the Nigerien battalions participating in the G5 Sahel Joint Force. In addition, the U.S. has provided jet fuel, COVID-19 assistance, a logistics warehouse and 10 troop transport trucks.
Previous presentations were made in May and in December. The December presentation included 13 Mambas and 86 radio systems.
The latest donation includes training 238 FAN Soldiers to use and maintain the equipment, a communications advisor, and logistics advisors to support maintenance of the Mambas for the next several years to ensure that FAN has maintenance self-sufficiency.
Whitaker said the latest donation is intended to help Niger respond to extremist groups operating along its borders with Mali and Burkina Faso. The Mambas are designed to offer protection for Soldiers from roadside improvised explosive devices.
Niger is part of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, a coalition of nations from Mauritania to Chad that have created a joint force to fight extremism and transnational crime.
Low population density and porous national borders have made the Sahel a hotbed for extremist groups such as Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. G5 nations work to combat the unfettered movement of the groups and their violent ideology.
“This initiative is the largest donation of equipment ever delivered to the Nigerien Armed Forces in such a short period of time,” Whitaker said. “I am confident that today’s delivery of equipment will continue your efforts to develop and operationalize the G5 Sahel Joint Force as it makes great strides in eliminating the scourge of violent extremism in the region.”