Rwanda has purchased an undisclosed number of Turkish Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (AUVs) commonly known as drones, this website has learnt.
According to a recent Africa Intelligence report from September 27, 2021, Rwanda joins Ethiopia, Morocco, Algeria, and Nigeria who are the other African countries that have expressed interest in Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 UAVs.
Rwanda's purchase of the UAVs comes after a visit to Turkey by the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Vincent Biruta. Together with a delegation of other Rwandan government officials, Biruta paid a working visit to Turkey on 05/09/2021 to discuss diplomatic, military, trade relations.
According to an Africa Intelligence report, Rwanda plans to purchase up to twelve of the vehicles. The least priced UAV goes for $1m about Ush3.6 billion.
A regional security expert familiar with the drones told this reporter that "those UAVs are extremely dangerous. Azerbaijan used them to destroy Armenian tanks and artillery systems. Ethiopia is (also) urgently trying to acquire and operationalize them to counter the Tigrayans."
Reports indicate that TB2 drones have become sought-after across Africa, Asia and parts of Europe after the remotely piloted craft were deemed to have tipped the balance in favour of Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia last autumn over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Rwandan government says the drones will be deployed to fight rebels in Mozambique where at least 1,000 Rwandan soldiers are fighting alongside Mozambican forces.
This purchase also coincides with strained relations between Rwanda and Uganda that resulted in Kigali's unilateral closure of the common border points at Katuna and Cyanika in 2019.
Since then, President Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart signed a pact in Angola aimed at ending tensions but the common border points remain closed to date.
After the signing, President Museveni said "Uganda is fully committed to enforcing this agreement", while Kagame noted "it may take a bit of time" for the two countries "to understand each other, but I think we have come a long way".
Uganda has in the recent past released a number of Rwandans as part of wider measures aimed at normalizing the strained relations between Kampala and Kigali.