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Burkina Faso receives new Chinese self-propelled guns and mortars

A WMA301 fire-support vehicle displayed during an inspection of new equipment by the president of Burkina Faso on 12 January 2024. (Présidence du Faso)

Burkina Faso is the latest African military to procure 105 mm WMA301 fire-support vehicles made by Chinese company Norinco, it was revealed on 12 January when President Captain Ibrahim Traoré attended a ceremony to mark the delivery of a consignment of new military equipment.

A video released by the president's office showed Traoré inspecting six WMA301s with a command vehicle, along with eight Norinco 81 mm CS/SM1 self-propelled mortars, a type that uses a Dongfeng light tactical vehicle and has not been seen in Africa before.

Traoré was also shown a series of shipping containers that were filled with weapons and ammunition that included a 60 mm WW90 mortar, mortar rounds, and rounds for RPG-7-type recoilless guns.

Minister of Defence Brigadier General Kassoum Coulibaly said this was the first of five consignments that are expected to arrive over the coming months under the strategic equipment plan announced by Traoré on 31 December 2023.

Traoré referred to the plan in his televised speech onthat day but provided no details, saying they would emerge over the coming year. However, he announced that the Special Rapid Intervention Brigade was being formed by bringing together the different rapid intervention battalions and a special forces group to help recapture territory from militants operating in Burkina Faso.

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