The United Arab Emirates has sent military vehicles and other security gear to Chad in support of anti-“terrorism” efforts and border protection, the oil-rich Gulf state said on Sunday.
Chad is a neighbour of Niger, where a coup late last month toppled one of the last pro-Western leaders in the jihadist-plagued Sahel region.
The UAE’s official news agency WAM included a photo of several desert-coloured armoured vehicles, with the Emirati and Chadian flags draped over two of them. Emirati firm NIMR manufactures the vehicles.
“The UAE has sent a shipment of military vehicles and security equipment to the Republic of Chad, to support its capabilities in combatting terrorism and enhancing border protection,” WAM said, without providing details on the equipment.
WAM said the two countries had signed a military cooperation agreement in June during a visit by Chad’s president, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, who has led the country since his father Idriss Deby Itno died from wounds battling rebels more than two years ago.
The military cooperation pact was one of several bilateral agreements signed between the two countries, WAM said.
N’Djamena confirmed that it had “received armoured vehicles in the framework of military cooperation between Chad and the Emirates”.
“This equipment allows us to strengthen our defence forces in the framework of the struggle against terrorism,” Chad’s Defence Minister Daoud Yaya Brahim told AFP.
The UAE, which has been developing its own defence industry, has also been increasing its engagement with African nations.
Military chiefs of the West African bloc ECOWAS have agreed on a plan for a possible intervention in response to the July 26 coup which toppled Niger’s president Mohamed Bazoum.
Chad is not an ECOWAS member but a Chadian government spokesman told AFP on July 30 that Deby had gone to Niger “to see what he could bring to solving the crisis.”