Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced a major uplift to UK support to the Nigerian armed forces to help combat Boko Haram.
The new commitment, announced during a visit to see President Buhari and senior government officials, includes:
- An intention to more than double the number of British personnel deployed on training tasks in Nigeria in the coming year, with up to 300 expected to provide support during 2016.
- The deployment of a specialist team to provide assistance in countering improvised explosive devices, as well as medical training and advice;
- A new RAF training team to improve the knowledge and skills of the Nigerian Air Force in airfield defence and counter insurgency.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Boko Haram is a brutal organisation that has murdered and kidnapped innocent civilians. We stand united with Nigeria in its efforts to defeat them.
Stepping up our training efforts will help support the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) for crucial counter-insurgency operations.
During his visit, Mr Fallon discussed Nigeria’s security challenges and the status of the bilateral UK-Nigeria Defence relationship with President Buhari and Defence Minister Dan Ali.
The deployment of the new teams and expanding package of UK assistance builds on the programme of Short Term Training Teams (STTT), many from the 2nd Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, providing assist to our Nigerian partners throughout 2015.
Overall, around 130 UK military personnel deployed to Nigeria on a wide range of training tasks in 2015. These have included, training in infantry skills, civil-military affairs, media operations, command and leadership, IED-awareness, and support to Nigerian military training schools and establishments.
Almost one thousand Nigerian military personnel benefited from training to prepare them for counter-insurgency operations in north east Nigeria.
The training uplift announced by Mr Fallon supports work already carried out by the UK’s resident British Military Advisory and Training Team (BMATT). BMATT has also grown in size since the government announced last year that the UK would increase its training and capacity building in Nigeria.
Together with our continued support to a Nigerian intelligence and analysis cell focussed on the north east and based in Abuja, almost 30 UK military personnel are now deployed in Nigeria on an enduring basis in training and advisory roles.