Military of Equatorial Guinea

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The military of Equatorial Guinea (in Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas de Guinea Ecuatorial) [1] was reorganized in 1979. It consists of approximately 2,500 service members. The army has almost 1,400 soldiers, the police 400 paramilitary men, the navy 200 service members, and the air force about 120 members. There is also a Gendarmerie, but the number of members is unknown. The Gendarmerie is a new branch of the service in which training and education is being supported by the French Military Cooperation in Equatorial Guinea. Overall the military is poorly trained and equipped. It has mostly small arms, RPGs, and mortars. Almost none of its Soviet-style light-armored vehicles or trucks are operational.

In 1988, the United States donated a 68-foot patrol boat to the Equatoguinean navy to patrol its exclusive economic zone. The U.S. patrol boat Isla de Bioko is no longer operational. U.S. military-to-military engagement has been dormant since 1997 (the year of the last Joint Combined Exchange Training Exercise). Between 1984 and 1992, service members went regularly to the United States on the International Military Education Training program, after which funding for this program for Equatorial Guinea ceased. The government spent 6.5% of its annual budget on defense in 2000 and 4.5% of its budget on defense in 2001. It recently acquired some Chinese artillery pieces, some Ukrainian patrol boats, and some Ukrainian helicopter gunships. The number of paved airports in Equatorial Guinea can be counted on one hand, and as such the number of airplanes operated by the air force is small. The Equatoguineans rely on foreigners to operate and maintain this equipment as they are not sufficiently trained to do so.

Military appointments are all reviewed by President Obiang, and few of the native militiamen come from outside of Obiang's Mongomo-based Esangui clan. Obiang was a general when he overthrew his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema.

In 2002, a report said "The oil companies do not view Equatorial Guinea's military – a product of decades of brutal dictatorial rule – with much confidence. The army is believed to have only about 1,320 men under arms, the navy 120, and the air force 100. Seven of the army's nine generals are relatives of the president; the other two are from his tribe. There is no clear command structure, the level of discipline is low, and professionalism and training are almost non-existent, according to locals and foreign oil workers. Even the presidential guard – an indication of the lack of trust in the country's forces – is composed of 350 Moroccan troops."[1]

In July of 2010, after the visit of Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the sale of a Barroso-class corvette to be constructed in Brazil was announced.[2]


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