Military co-operation with African countries is low (Minister of Defence) | Tunisia News Gazette

Military co-operation with African countries is low (Minister of Defence)

Defence Minister Abdelkrim Zbidi said on Monday military co-operation with African countries, particularly the Sahel and Sahara countries, is low.

The minister added that this co-operation is of special importance particularly in the area of intelligence in the fight against terrorism and cross-border organised crime.

Co-operation with the European Union, as a regional area on the northern shores of the Mediterranean, also remains “extremely limited” and mainly concerns irregular migration, the minister added.

Speaking at a Hearing by the Parliamentary Security and Defence Committee on Monday, Abdelkrim Zbidi pointed out that the Defence Department has put in place a comprehensive strategy to promote its operational capabilities in the face of the emergence of new non-conventional threats: terrorism, organised crime, smuggling and irregular migration.

Emphasis has been placed on improving the professional skills of all national army forces by focusing on intelligence and cyber defense, he added.

For this purpose, it was necessary to draw on the experiences of brotherly and friendly countries in the fight against terrorism and in the framework of bilateral military co-operation with twenty or so countries.

With regard to equipment to protect the military and deal with unconventional threats, the Minister announced the purchase of ballistic helmets, bullet-proof vests and suspicious body detection tools, 120 combat tanks, 20 anti-mines armoured vehicles, 200 4X4 trucks, 200 6X6 trucks, 24 armed helicopters and 8 support helicopters (4 of which have already been purchased and 4 others planned in April 2018).

It also involves the acquisition of drones and unmanned planes dedicated to surveillance and intelligence, radar stations and surveillance cameras, which will be gradually extended to all military sites.

Among the main basic infrastructure projects, the minister referred to the installation of a sand barrier between Ras Jedir and Borj El Khadra over 250 kms for a cost of about 23 million dinars and an electronic surveillance system in the southeastern border for an amount of approximately Euros 7 million.

This project has been in operation since the beginning of the year. An electronic surveillance system is also being installed in 13 coastal areas from the Tunisian-Libyan border to the Tunisian-Algerian border at a cost of about 29 million dinars.

Source: TAP News Agency

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