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France donates equipment for G5 Sahel battalions

02 November 2017

France has donated vehicles, support weapons, and communications equipment to Burkina Faso and Niger as part of the G5 Sahel counter-terrorism initiative, which also involves Chad, Mali, and Mauritania.

France handed over 13 Technamm Masstech, two ACMAT VLRA, and two GBC 180 vehicles to Niger on 27 October. (French Embassy in Niamey)France handed over 13 Technamm Masstech, two ACMAT VLRA, and two GBC 180 vehicles to Niger on 27 October. (French Embassy in Niamey)

The Nigerien military received 13 Technamm Masstech 4x4 pickups equipped with machine guns and radio sets, two ACMAT VLRA 4x4 vehicles, and two 6x6 GBC 180 trucks on 27 October. The Masstech is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser.

The French embassy in Niger said the equipment would be used by the battalion that will deploy in the central sector of the G5 Sahel force and that deliveries of counter-improvised explosive device (IED) equipment, helmets, body armour, night vision systems, communications, and field equipment will follow.

A similar package was also donated to the Burkinabe army on 17 October. The French embassy in Ouagadougou said it had handed over 13 pickups equipped with 12.7 mm heavy machineguns and radios, two 3.5 tonne 4x4 vehicles, two 6x6 trucks, a recovery vehicle, and an assortment of field kit comprising tents, beds, and solar showers.

It released a photograph showing the pickups are Masstechs. While no details of the other vehicles were provided, they are likely to be refurbished French Army VLRAs and GBC 180s.

The French Ministry of Defence said the equipment was destined for the Burkinabe battalion that will be deployed to the northeastern city of Dori under the aegis of the G5 Sahel force.

Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes, French Ambassador in Burkina Faso, said during the delivery ceremony, “We have proven our commitment alongside our partners by deciding to equip the G5 Sahel joint force with EUR8 million-worth of equipment.”

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