Boko Haram: Buhari to sign military pact with Russia

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will sign a military technical cooperation deal with Russia at talks with President Vladimir Putin this month that will help it fight Boko Haram militants, Nigeria’s ambassador in Moscow said on Friday.

The Nigerian leader is due to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit on October 24 in the Black Sea city of Sochi amid a push by Moscow to expand its influence in Africa.

“We’re sure that with Russian help we’ll manage to crush Boko Haram, given Russia’s experience combating Islamic State in Syria,” Nigerian envoy Steve Ugbah said in an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency.

He added that Nigeria was interested in purchasing Russian helicopters, planes, tanks and other military equipment.

Ugbah said a military technical cooperation deal between Russia and Nigeria had already been drafted and that it only needed to be finalised.

“We hope President Buhari can take the talks to their logical end … The agreement will open new possibilities in such areas as the supply of military equipment and training for specialists,” he said.

The Sochi summit will be co-chaired by President Vladimir Putin and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, who also heads the African Union.

It is the first event of this level in the history of Russian-African relations, with the heads of all states of the African continent invited, as well as leaders of major subregional associations and organisations.

All African leaders are expected to attend. At the end of the meeting, the participants are to adopt a political declaration on the key areas of Russian-African cooperation.

On October 23, the leaders of Russia and Egypt will also open an economic forum attended by Russian and African officials and representatives of major businesses. A package of trade, economic and investment agreements is expected to be signed following the high-level forum.

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