Mauritania Acquires Chinese Armoured Vehicles, Conducts Military Manoeuvre Azbar 2024

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca holds a degree in Political Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand. As the Africa Desk Chief for Atlas, her expertise spans conflict, politics, and history. She is also the Editor for The ModernInsurgent and has interests in yoga and meditation.

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In seeking to update the structure of its various land, air, and navy armies, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Sheikh al-Ghazouani, accompanied by the Marine team El-Wali, the Mauritanian Minister of Defense, and the Commander of Staff, led an inspection of recently acquired Chinese armoured vehicles, including the NORINCO PTL-02. Additionally, Colonel Ahmadou Bembe announced the acquisition of advanced communication systems, field artillery weapons, anti-shield units, and missile artillery.

The recently acquired armoured vehicles. Source: Mauritanian National Army

The purchase comes as the country’s military and security manoeuvre “Azbar 2024” began yesterday.

What You Need to Know:

The manoeuvre began in the Azbar region south of the capital Nouakchott and utilized 1,500 personnel across 20 sectors of the country’s gendarmerie and military, along with 200 vehicles, including armoured vehicles, logistics trucks, and fully equipped SUVs.

According to the Mauritanian news agency L’AMI, the manoeuvre “aimed, among other things, to simulate reality and put various formations of the National Conscious Sector in permanent readiness to preserve the system and defend the land possession through the continuous formation and training of leaders and individuals to perform military and security tasks assigned to the National Conscious sector and to adapt permanently to various combat situations and those that It requires preserving the system, simplifying influence and sovereignty of the state.”

Additionally, yesterday, the National Army conducted a series of artillery and rocket launches north of Nouakchott as part of a training exercise.

So, What Now?:

The manoeuvre follows a series of live fire drills conducted by the Mauritanian army in early May in response to elements of the Malian military and Wagner forces pursuing Tuareg rebels through the Mauritanian border villages of Fassala and Madallah the month prior.

Likewise, thousands of Malians have fled to Mauritania throughout the “Malian war,” which began in late 2012 after Tuareg rebels and Islamic militants began attacking Malian military installations. Currently, Malian refugees constitute more than one-fifth of the population in Mauritania’s Hodh Ech Chargui border region.

Mali’s 2021 coup brought it closer to Russia as the European nation pledged to aid Mali in its fight against the rebels; however, the security situation has not improved, with the Malian army terminating the 2015 peace deal between itself and the Tuaregs.

As a result, in late May, a new Tuareg alliance—the Framework for the Defense for the People of Azawad (CSP-DPA)—was formed.

On June 4th, the Malian army conducted a series of drone strikes against the rebels who had organized at an ex-United Nations base in Kidal.

Mauritania’s latest acquisition of military equipment, Azbar 2024, and its live-fire drills near the border with Mali indicate the nation’s attempt to signal to Mali that it will not tolerate incursions into its territory, while simultaneously ensuring the readiness of its troops in the case of an escalation, although unlikely, between the two nations.