The government of Nigeria is buying Soviet-made tanks, amphibious vehicles and rocket launchers from Czech republic to combat the terrorist group, Boko Haram, according to a Thursday report by Czech daily, Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD).
The modernized T-72 M1 and 16 other vehicles, as well as BMP armoured infantry fighting vehicles and rocket launchers will be supplied by Czech arms dealer, Excalibur Group, Andrej Čírtek, its spokesman told the paper.
Čírtek said the heavy arms come from sales of redundant equipment of the armies of the former Warsaw Pact.
Czech Defense and Security Industry Association head Jiří Hynek confirmed that the destination is Nigeria, according to a report by the PraguePost.
“The tanks had to be delivered quickly so that the Nigerian army have vehicles to fight with,” Hynek told MfD.
According to unofficial information, the military vehicles will be sold for more than $8 million.
A huge Antonov An-225 Mriya transport plane landed in Ostrava, north Moravia, to carry the arms to Nigeria. It is to make three flights to Africa. The aircraft is to take the first part of the equipment there within a few days, the paper said.
Over 20, 000 persons have been killed since the Boko Haram, a radical Islamic group started its campaign to Islamize and impose sharia in northern Nigeria. Thousands have also been displaced from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, where the group has sustained attacks.
The Nigerian military has been unable to successfully crush the group, which has also attacked towns in neighbouring Cameroun, Chad and Niger.
The African Union Friday called for a regional five-nation force of 7,500 troops to defeat the Boko Haram.
Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroun and Benin agreed to contribute troops to form a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), AU Commission Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement.
“Boko Haram’s horrendous abuses, unspeakable cruelty, total disregard for human lives, and wanton destruction of property are unmatched,” Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement after the bloc’s Peace and Security Council met late Thursday, ahead of a full AU summit meeting on Friday.
“I am deeply concerned by the prevailing situation as a result of Boko Haram terrorist activities, including the recent escalation of violence witnessed on the ground.
“The continued attacks in northeastern Nigeria and the increasing attacks in the Lake Chad Basin, along the border with Chad and Cameroon, and in the northern provinces of that country, have the potential of destabilizing the entire region, with far-reaching security and humanitarian consequences, Dlamini-Zuma added. Thewillnigeria.