Military Capabilities

China steps up training for African militaries

23 August 2017

The Chinese military has recently undertaken bilateral training activities with the Tanzania Naval Command (TNC), and completed the training of a new rapid reaction brigade for the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC).

President Joseph Kabila inspects his new Chinese-trained brigade in Kamina on 12 August. (DRC Presidency)President Joseph Kabila inspects his new Chinese-trained brigade in Kamina on 12 August. (DRC Presidency)

Details of the Tanzanian training programme were revealed when a People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) flotilla consisting of a destroyer, a frigate, and a supply vessel visited Dar es Salaam on 16–20 August.

In an interview with China's state broadcaster CCTV during the visit, TNC commander Rear Admiral Richard Mutayoba Makanzo said Tanzania currently operates two marine companies, both of which were trained by the PLAN, with the training of a third company to begin with Chinese assistance.

The Tanzania People's Defence Force already possesses an amphibious warfare capability that is impressive by the standards of the continent, comprising two ex-PLAN Type 068 landing craft and Chinese-supplied Type 63A amphibious light tanks.

The rear admiral further noted that Tanzanian marines are currently deployed in peacekeeping operations in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan.

CCTV news showed members of a special forces detachment from the visiting PLAN flotilla training Tanzanian personnel to fire the QBZ-95-1 assault rifle, QBU-10 anti-materiel rifle, and NSG-1/CS-LR4 sniper rifle.

In the DRC, President Joseph Kabila on 12 August presided over the passing-out parade of the army's 32nd Rapid Reaction Brigade, which was activated after 18 months of training.

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