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Nigerian Armed Forces (Training)

Volume 604: debated on Monday 18 January 2016

11. What plans he has to increase training support to the Nigerian armed forces to help to tackle Boko Haram. (903060)

We are fully committed to supporting Nigeria in its efforts to defeat Boko Haram. During his visit in December, the Secretary of State committed to a major increase in UK support to the Nigerian armed forces with the intent of more than doubling the number of British personnel deploying on training tasks in the coming year.

The strategic ties between the United Kingdom and Nigeria are of the first importance to our country. Will the Minister provide more details of the UK troop deployments she envisages over the next 12 months to assist Nigeria in combating terrorism?

We expect up to 300 military personnel to provide assistance over the forthcoming year, including 30 RAF personnel who have been deployed this month to deliver force protection and training to the Nigerian air force, and more than 35 personnel from the 2nd Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment who will deploy later this month to train Nigerian personnel specifically to combat Boko Haram.

The Minister will be aware that Boko Haram operates not only in Nigeria but across the borders in the region. We have also seen Daesh and al-Qaeda-affiliated organisations coming down from the north. Given the horrific events in Burkina Faso over the weekend, will she tell us what support is being given to that country by the UK armed forces and what steps are being taken to co-ordinate action against Islamist violence across the region?

A huge effort is going on, not just from the UK but from our partners. We are doing a range of things, as well as maintaining bilateral relationships to build the capacity of those countries’ own armed forces. We provide a huge amount of training, particularly on the issue of winning peace and security, as well as providing practical support. We keep all this under review, but a huge amount of work is being done.