West Africa is increasingly using drones

Since January, Burkina Faso has been using armed drones, having placed, like its neighbors – Togo and Niger – an order in 2021 for Bayraktar TB2, of Turkish construction. Most of the armed drones used in Africa are produced by southern partners such as Turkey, China or Iran. And if they are increasingly visible in the sky, from the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, according to experts, these broadcasts will not be enough to change the situation in light of the terrorist threat.

Monday 19 September at Bayraktar TB2 UAV is seen at Mogadishu airport. Satellite images are published by Shabelle TV. This is the first time that this type of armament has been seen in Somalia.

Last week, several analysts observed the regular rotations of an aircraft north of Niamey, Niger, which closely resembled those of a dronealso.

In Ethiopia, Iranian drones were recently seen in the skies over Tigray. The Dutch organization for the promotion of peace (Pax) estimates that Addis Ababa today has a fleet acquired from different manufacturers: Iranian, Turkish and Chinese.

With these arms contracts, is a whole new defense diplomacy taking shape in Africa. Southern partners offer technologies adapted to the continent’s security challenges at lower costs. A shift missed by the rich countries, producers of traditional weapons.

Especially drones have activated Addis Ababa to repel the latest Tigrayan offensive. But the indirect damage is colossal. The UN is talking about hundreds of civilians killed in Ethiopia since January. Suspicions of wrongdoing are also mentioned in Togo and Burkina Faso.

Acquisition of drones in West Africa will not be a game-changer in the fight against terrorism, as the three West African countries have recently acquired Turkish armed drones to deal with the terrorist threat, for Akram Karief, a journalist specializing in defense issues, these acquisitions are a strategic advantage, but will not be enough to change the situation.

The acquisition of drones in West Africa cannot “be decisive” in the fight against terrorism, according to Akram Karief, a journalist specializing in defense issues “and could fuel the feeling of revenge”

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