Benin Army (l’Armee de Terre)
The Armed Forces of Benin is transitioning to a more professional, modern, flexible force, responsive to the specific security challenges of Benin and West Africa. It is no longer postured for high intensity combat.
Until 1972 the 120-man Ouidah-based Commando Parachute Battalion was the army's elite unit, that seemed always mobilized to overthrow civilian government. By the mid-1970s Kerekou had established the overwhelmingly Fulani [northern] Battallon de la Garde Presidentielle [BGP]. This outfit was initially a ceremonial unit famous for its very colorful uniforms. But it soon became the military bastion of the regime against mutinitie from other parts of the military. Trained and equiped by North Korea, it was the most competent unit in the country.
With the demise of the Marxist state, President Nicephore Soglo undertake a variety of military reforsms. These included disbanding the BGP along with several other security formations. Their troops were scattered among other units, and their commanders re-assigned or arrested.
Rapid Intervention units|
1st Commando Parachute Battalion
1st Motorised Battalion
1st Armoured Group
National Fire Brigade
1st Inter-arms battalion
2nd Inter-arms battalion
3rd Inter-arms battalion
7th Inter-arms battalion
8th Inter-arms battalion
Support and Combat Support
1st Artillery Battalion
1st Engineer Battalion
1st Signal Battalion
1st Material Battalion
1st Logistics Battalion
As of 2015, the Army had a strength of 4,300. It included 1 armored squadron, 3 infantry battalions, 1 commando/airborne battalion, 1 artillery battery, and 1 engineer battalion. Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi announced 02 august 2015 he will send 800 troops to join a new multinational force tasked with fighting Boko Haram militants after meeting with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari. Troops for the new multinational force, which includes soldiers from Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad as well as Benin, were set to be deployed at any time, according to its commander Major General Iliya Abbah. The force, made up of 8,700 troops, was headquartered in Chad.
South African Denel Mechem sold ten CASSPIR 2000 mine protected vehicles to Benin in early 2013 and had 15 on order with the United Nations as it promoted the latest version of the CASSPIR mine protected armoured vehicle. The Casspir 2000 is the latest variant of the world renowned armored vehicle. The CASSPIR 2000 emerged from the shortage of old CASSPIR Mk 1 and 2’s available for refurbishment. Denel saw a niche as there were no more second hand CASSPIRS to rebuild, yet there is demand for the vehicles.
Gate sentries are the first line of defense, not only for force protection but also for enforcement of base orders. A strong show of force not only deters potentially dangerous activity but it creates overall stability, safety and security for the base being protected.
Marines with SPMAGTF Crisis Response - Africa traveled to Contonou, Benin and Lome, Togo, where they trained alongside service members from each country for a theater security cooperation engagement focusing on base security, Nov. 24-Dec. 6, 2014. The purpose of the training engagement was to help develop and enhance armed sentry skills as several service members from both countries are preparing to deploy for peace-keeping missions to specific regions in Western Africa where they will be standing sentry duties.
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