Niger also buys 12 Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia

Niger has signed a contract for the supply of 12 Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia during the Russia-Africa Summit underway in Sochi, whilst Nigeria has expressed interest in acquiring more of the type.

The Niger deal was announced by Anatoly Punchuk, deputy director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) of Russia.

Nigerien foreign affairs minister Kalla Ancurao said his country was in urgent need of helicopters to fight terrorists in the East and North of the country.

In September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Ancurao, saying there was good prospects for military and military-technical cooperation, especially with regard to counter-terrorism and the supply of military hardware as well as the exploitation of natural resources in Niger.

The Nigerien contract was announced as Russia welcomed dozens of African heads of state, including Nigerien president Mahamadou Issoufou, to the southern Russian city of Sochi amid a push by Moscow for clout on the continent.