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Senegal military parade reveals new acquisitions

New Arquus Bastion armoured personnel carriers (APCs) were seen during a military parade marking Senegal’s 59th anniversary of independence on 4 April.

The new Bastion APCs during Senegal's independence day parade. (Présidence de la République du Sénégal)

The new Bastion APCs during Senegal's independence day parade. (Présidence de la République du Sénégal)

A total of 29 Bastions took part in the event and were described by an official military commentator as being new acquisitions, bought with the support of Saudi Arabia. A previous batch of nine Bastions, including two PATSAS variants, was separately acquired by the Senegalese Gendarmerie in 2017, probably using its own funds.

According to the French publication Intelligence Online, 36 Bastions were procured by Senegal for its army in 2018 using a USD30 million grant from Riyadh, with French company Sofema acting as the purchasing entity for Dakar.

A Sofema executive declined to comment when asked by Jane’s to confirm this information, saying the matter is confidential. However, a French industry source told Jane’s that Sofema did purchase the vehicles.

It is unclear which unit is operating the Bastions. They were paraded as part of the Armoured Battalion contingent: a unit that does not need APCs as it has no mechanised infantry component and uses Norinco WZ551 variants to support its WMA 301 tank destroyers.

APCs are normally operated by Senegal’s four Reconnaissance and Support Battalions (BRA), which are combined arms formations consisting of a cavalry element with Eland armoured cars, a fire-support component armed with mortars, and mechanised infantry companies.

A Senegalese military source told Jane’s that the Armoured Battalion could also field APCs in the future and that the army is looking to use its armoured platforms more flexibly.

M36 Mk5 Pumas painted white for UN operations also featured in the parade. (Présidence de la République du Sénégal)

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