World - Africa Updated: April 12, 2024

Russian Military Instructors, equipment arrive in Niger

By Adekunle Obas
April 12, 2024
This Belarusian Defense Ministry handout photo shows a fighter from the Russian Wagner mercenary group and a Belarusian service member taking part in a joint training at the Brest military ra

Russian military instructors, along with an air defence system and other equipment, have arrived in Niger as part of the country's expanding security collaboration with Moscow, as announced by state television late Thursday.

Niger's military government, which assumed power in January, agreed to enhance military cooperation with Russia after expelling French forces that had been aiding in the fight against jihadist insurgencies across several Sahel nations.

Tele Sahel, the state broadcaster, aired footage showing a Russian transport plane landing at Niamey airport on Wednesday night. The report stated that "the latest military equipment and military instructors from the Russian defence ministry" had arrived.

According to the report, Russia will assist in "installing an air defence system... to ensure complete control of our airspace."

An instructor remarked, "We are here to train the Niger army and help it use the equipment that has just arrived. The equipment is for different military specialties."


General Abdourahamane Tiani, the head of Niger's military government, held a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 26. They discussed security cooperation and "global strategic cooperation" against "current threats," although details were not provided at that time.

Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, had previously collaborated with Western nations in combating jihadists in the Sahel region. However, since the ousting of the elected president last year, Niger has turned to Russia for support.

Niger, along with Mali and Burkina Faso, both governed by military leaders following coups, has formed a joint force to confront longstanding jihadist insurgencies in the region.

The United States has approximately 1,000 troops stationed in Niger, but their movements have been restricted since the coup, and Washington has scaled back its assistance to the government.


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