Boko Haram: U.s Finally ‘seeks To Sell’ Attack Aircraft To Nigeria
SAN FRANCISCO, May 06, (THEWILL) – The United States, U.S government is seeking to approve a sale of as many as 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft to Nigeria to aid the fight against Boko Haram insurgents, Reuters news agency reports.
This approximates to a vote of confidence in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as Washington had, under the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan, blocked arms sales to Nigeria over human rights concerns.
A U.S official told the news agency that his country's military is currently training a Nigerian infantry battalion, and would train a second later this year.
“The Buhari administration I think has really re-energized the bilateral relationship in a fundamental way,” one U.S official said.
“Buhari made clear from the get-go that his number one priority was reforming the military to defeat Boko Haram … And he sees us as part of that solution,” a second U.S official said.
The sale is subject to review by Congress, which has not yet been formally notified.
The aircraft come with a “very basic armed configuration,” one of the U.S officials said.
The sale could offer Nigeria a more maneuverable aircraft that can stay aloft for extended periods to target Boko Haram formations.
The Tucanos can be used for training, surveillance or attack. They can be armed with two wing-mounted machine guns and can carry up to 1,550 Kg (3,417 pounds) of weapons.
One production line for the Super Tucano is in Florida, where it is built with U.S. firm Sierra Nevada Corp.
Though officials did not disclose the cost of the planes to be sold to Nigeria, a contract for 20 similar aircraft sold to Afghanistan was valued at about $428 million at the time it was announced in 2013.