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African States are Increasingly Acquiring Turkish Drones to Fight Armed Groups

African states are increasingly acquiring Turkish drones to fight armed groups after they proved to be effective in various conflicts around the world. This Turkish-made weapon had already proved its effectiveness in helping Azerbaijan defeat Armenian armoured forces and snatch back extensive territory in the Nagorno-Karabakh war of 2020. Recent weeks have seen a consignment of Bayraktar TB2s delivered to the West African state of Togo, which is struggling to curb the infiltration of jihadist fighters moving south from Burkina Faso. While in May, Niger acquired half a dozen of these versatile and affordable drones for its military operations against insurgent groups in the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert, and around Lake Chad. Other African customers have included Ethiopia, Morocco and Tunisia, while Angola has also expressed interest. But the first to use these potent surveillance and strike weapons on the continent may well have been the UN-recognised government in Libya – where they were spotted as early as 2019 and may have helped Tripoli’s forces hold off eastern rebels. For African buyers, especially poorer countries, drones provide the chance to develop significant air power without the vast cost in equipment and years of elite training required to develop a conventional air strike force of manned jets.