Rwandan Intervention in Benin: A 6-Month Outlook

Benin is struggling with insurgent attacks in the country’s north. Rwandan “military diplomacy” thus far is contained to the DRC and Mozambique, yet may very soon come to Benin. The Islamic State – Sahel Province claimed responsibility for attacks against Beninese military positions last month. Thus far, northern Benin has faced IED attacks, assaults on military posts and several abductions [source]. 

KJ-1: It is highly likely that Rwandan military forces will deploy to Benin in the next 6 months.

  • Benin and Rwanda are in talks over logistical aid. Benin is also in talks with Nigeria and Burkina Faso [source].
  • The two countries held bilateral meetings this month in Kigali on strengthening security cooperation [source]. 
  • Benin’s Chief of Army Staff visited the headquarters of the Rwandan Defense Forces in July [source]. 
  • Police chiefs from both countries have met for a five-day conference on peacekeeping and policing strategies [source]. 
  • Benin and Rwanda are believed to have signed an agreement to deploy anywhere from 300 to 700 Rwandan troops to Benin by October [source].
  • The European Union may be supporting the mission financially by offsetting a portion of the cost [source]. 
  • Rwandan deployments in the CAR and Mozambique are a means of enhancing the country’s prestige abroad [source]. 

KJ-2: There is a realistic probability that Rwandan military forces will successfully mitigate extremist activity in Benin in the next 6 months.

  • Rwandan forces deployed to Mozambique and the CAR to fight terrorist groups [source], [source]. 
  • Rwandan troops will remain in Mozambique following the success of the operation [source]. 
  • Despite budgetary constraints, Rwandan troops fought back ISCAP insurgents [source].
  • The Rwandan military is internationally regarded as an effective and competent fighting force. This is due to its military diplomacy in Sudan, the CAR and Mozambique [source].
  • Rwanda obtained highly advanced military hardware. Items include the Chinese-made PCL-09 self-propelled artillery system and the HG-9A Red Arrow ATGM [source].
  • Rwanda’s military demonstrated its ability to fend off cross-border insurgent attacks after it repelled 100 Burundian insurgents who attacked Yanze village in 2020 [source].    

KJ-3: It is likely that Rwandan military deployments will motivate the development of African airlift capabilities in the next 6 months.

  • Rwanda’s Air Force consists of mostly helicopters. It has almost no airlift capacity [source]. 
  • While these helicopters are used effectively in domestic disaster response operations, they do not have the range to reach Benin [source]. 
  • As a result, Rwandan troops on tour in the CAR used US Military aircraft to reach their deployment [source]. 
  • The US Military wants to establish a strategic airlift sharing program in Africa to better handle the needs of African states [source].
  • Rwanda co-hosted a summit in Kigali in February aimed at addressing the issue [source]. 
  • Prior to the summit, a group of 9 African nations met 6 times last year to coordinate the establishment of airlift sharing [source].
  • Tunisia will provide additional airlift capacity through the African Union and the US-sponsored Air Transport Sharing Mechanism [source]. 

Intelligence Cut-Off Date 27 September 2022

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